SARASOTA, Fla. - A magnetic resonance imaging on Wilson Betemit's right knee this afternoon has revealed a Grade 2/3 posterior cruciate ligament tear and "associated injuries," according to a team spokesman.
Betemit collapsed in the dirt near second base in the bottom of the fifth inning as he ran to the bag on Manny Machado's fly ball to left field. He rolled from side to side in excruciating pain and was carted off the field and helped into the clubhouse with a brace that extended from the top of his right thigh to his calf.
The Orioles will provide more information on Tuesday, according to the spokesman. A team physician is reviewing the results of the MRI.
The PCL is located deep within the knee joint, and PCL injuries are regarded as common knee injuries in sport. The PCL is larger and stronger than the anterior cruciate ligament, and its purpose is to prevent the shin bone slipping backwards on the thigh bone - information that I've lifted here.
Patients with Grade 1 or 2 tears can attempt to rehab the injury and avoid surgery. However, a Grade 3 tear normally requires reconstructive surgery. The Orioles may be able to explain Tuesday which avenue of treatment applies to a Grade 2/3 tear.
Betemit hit a three-run homer and added a sacrifice fly this afternoon, following his two-run double in Sunday's game in Bradenton. He's been projected as the left-handed designated hitter and backup first and third baseman.
Betemit's absence from the lineup increases the likelihood that Ryan Flaherty will break camp with the team. It also opens the door for one of the right-handed hitting outfield/first base types, such as Steve Pearce or Conor Jackson. The Orioles also could choose to bring back Russ Canzler, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk earlier today.
Following today's 12-9 win over the Red Sox, manager Buck Showalter said he was hopeful that the injury would be confined to the PCL if diagnosed as more serious than a sprain. Unfortunately for Betemit and the Orioles, the MRI revealed the tear and associated injuries.