Hearing from Betemit and Showalter before today's game

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Infielder Wilson Betemit also made the trip from Sarasota to Tropicana Field today to visit with teammates and provide an injury update.

Betemit remains on the 60-day disabled list with a Grade 2/3 PCL tear in his right knee. He's hitting in the cage, running and throwing, but his return isn't expected until after the All-Star break.

Betemit will begin participating in fielding drills next week.

"I feel a lot better," he said. "Before, I couldn't run. Now I can run and I can throw and hit normally, BP in the cage.

"Those guys in Sarasota are working hard with me. Not only with me, but all those guys over there. We're working hard every day."

Betemit is being brought along slowly, and he's targeting a return shortly after the break.

"I want to play, but if they want me to move slowly and it's better for me to getting better and better, I don't want to hurry then have to come back again. I want to get back and play.

"I think every time I walk in the morning, my first times I was really sore. When I first started stretching my legs, it was really hard. Right now I'm used to it. I know it was going to happen, but I've felt really better than the past couple of months."

Manager Buck Showalter is eager to get Betemit back in the lineup. Betemit led the club in batting average against right-handers last season at .302.

"Wilson looks good," Showalter said. "As soon as the strength in his quad comes back, he should move pretty quickly. I know where I've got my hopes set on him, but he's actually a little behind Brian (Robert) right now.

"It's good to see him. It reminds you what we're missing. I try not to think about it and we don't live in that world, but this guy led our club in hitting against right-handed pitching last year and we've been without him all year. It would be nice to get him back and fill the hole that we haven't consistently been able to fill."

Roberts is expected to fly back to Baltimore with the team and continue his rehab and baseball activities at Camden Yards.

"There's not a whole lot he can do here that he can't do there," Showalter said. "He's got all his stuff in Baltimore, he and his wife. It's not like they've got to pack up or anything. They weren't expecting originally when the injury happened to be down there this long.

"I think it will be good for Brian to get back in the environment a little bit. Maybe it would help him. He likes Sarasota, but he's tired of it. He wants to be around the club and we want him around the club.

"If Wilson was a little further along, we'd do the same thing with him, but he needs to be down there with the work they're doing with the quad. Until he gets that part of it strong, it's going to be pretty slow."

The Orioles are waiting for the results of Steve Johnson's MRI. Johnson is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

Showalter was encouraged by Wei-Yin Chen's flat-ground session today, but there's no timetable for the left-hander's activation from the disabled list.

"He's in a positive area," Showalter said. "It's followed the time frame that we hope presents itself as normal."

Oliver Drake (Navy), who underwent shoulder surgery last August, pitched again yesterday at extended spring training and will be assigned to Double-A Bowie.

"He could help us sometime," Showalter said. "Maybe not this year. Who knows?"

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