A few minutes with Betemit and Teagarden

SARASOTA, Fla. - Wilson Betemit is the latest position player to report early to camp. I still haven’t seen Josh Bell, Ryan Adams, Endy Chavez, Jai Miller, Steve Tolleson and Ronny Paulino.

Paulino and pitcher Dennys Reyes are having visa issues.

Betemit said he’s “really excited” to be here, “especially on a new team and seeing some new guys. I know some guys, a couple other guys, from other teams. I want to build a family.”

Betemit doesn’t have a defined role, but he figures to get a lot of at-bats as the designated hitter against right-handed pitching.

“For me, it’s no matter - DH, first base, third base,” he said. “That’s why I’m here. Wherever they need me, that’s where I’m going to play and do my job.”

Backkup catcher Taylor Teagarden said his right knee is about “85-90 percent” after he underwent a second procedure on it last month.

“I had knee surgery in November and I’m basically at the point now where I’m about 85-90 and I’m catching in the bullpen and I’m just trying to get my knee back in shape,” he said. “So far everything looks great. I’m just trying to get in shape and get my knee cranking. The first few days have gone fine and I’m improving every day. I’m pleased with where I am right now.

“They took a big cyst out of the back of my knee and it didn’t drain like everyone thought and there was some blood developing in the back of my knee and they had to wait for that to settle and then actually do another procedure and take it out because it was limiting my range of motion. But that was about three or four weeks ago and it’s kind of behind me, and now it’s kind of a strengthening phase and getting in baseball shape.

“It wasn’t a major knee reconstruction. It wasn’t like I had a torn ACL or anything. They removed something from my knee and I guess it wasn’t as smooth as planned, but they’ve done pictures on my knee and it looks extremely healthy. It’s just a matter of getting in shape, just getting back on the bike pretty much.

“It was bothering me in August of last season, but I could play on it. They decided that, if we can take it out, let’s go and take it out. They decided to go that route. I think that was a smart move.”

Teagarden has a lot of work to do beyond taking care of his knee. He’s learning a new pitching staff and bonding with Matt Wieters, whose locker is next to him.

“That’s going to be the biggest adjustment, trying to catch as many guys as possible and getting to know their stuff, get to know their personalities, what they struggle with, what they do well. Just try to get on the same page with everyone so we can really speed up the learning curve process so when the games get going, we’re on the same page,” Teagarden said.

“I knew of Matt before I got here. I don’t think we ever met. I knew his background, comes from Georgia Tech. I’ve kind of seen him come up through the big leagues and watched him a little bit playing against him. A great talent, amazing character. He’s just got a lot of good qualities. He does a lot of homework not only on his own guys but other players. Great guy to talk to and get a feel for the other guys. Whenever I can, whether it’s in stretch or the bullpen, I try to talk to these guys and see what their stuff is and what they want to work on and what I can expect. I think the next week or two he will really help out a lot with that.”

Teagarden spent parts of the last four seasons with the Rangers before being traded to the Orioles.

“I’m not used to Florida spring training,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect as far as the weather and what the facilities were like. This facility is amazing. It’s first-class. It’s big, it’s nice. I’ve had a great time getting to know the coaches and Buck (Showalter) and spending time with the catchers. Matt’s a great person to get to know. He’s made the transition easy. Just a really good vibe. I’m getting to know the pitchers and some of the position players as they come in. So far everything’s been going really smooth. Things are going well so far.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming into a totally different environment, different team. I’ve never been with another team before. My biggest thing was getting to know the other players. Expectations for the season, we can talk about that further along spring training, but I just want to get a real good feel for the personalities in the clubhouse and then once we get on the field, it’s just baseball. We’ll see how things unfold. I was really excited to come to a young team with a lot of guys who have come up through the system, young pitchers trying to establish themselves, and see that unwind.”

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