Orioles option Flaherty (updated)

BOSTON - The Orioles have optioned infielder Ryan Flaherty to Single-A Frederick to make room for Wilson Betemit on the 25-man roster.

In 75 games for the Orioles this season, Flaherty hit .218 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs. He can return when rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Betemit tore the PCL in his right knee during a March 25 exhibition game against the Red Sox, the team he’s most likely going to start against on Wednesday. Betemit is on the bench tonight against left-hander Felix Doubront, but he’ll probably start the following night against right-hander John Lackey.

“First, I thank God to be back here to the big leagues. I feel good to be here,” Betemit said.

“I feel good. I was down there playing and had some good at-bats. And I feel good.

“I’m able to run. That’s why I am here. If I was not able to go and run, I wouldn’t be here today. I am ready to play.”

Betemit, who led the Orioles with a .302 average against right-handed pitching last year, said the knee was a concern at the start of his injury-rehab assignment.

“I tell you what, my first game when I played in Sarasota, I was thinking (about) my knee,” he said. “I mean, what was going to happen in the first game. And then after that, it was good after that.”

Betemit sounded relieved to be out of Sarasota and back with his teammates.

“It was bad,” he said. “I mean, it was bad because I was off for almost four months and then we were working in Sarasota with those guys. A thank you to those guys that were working with me in Sarasota. They did a great job with me over there.

“I was positive all year, positive that I could come back, and I’m here.”

Betemit’s biggest test was running for the first time, which is understandable, considering that he had to be transported off the Ed Smith Stadium field on a cart, his leg immobilized in a brace.

“My first time running was a scare,” he said. “First I think, well, if you hit a double and have to turn at first base, how am I going to feel? But I feel good.”

It also feels good to be dropped in the middle of a pennant race.

“I’m really excited to come back and help the team anytime they need me,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”

Betemit took ground balls at first and third base, but the Orioles want him for his bat.

“They called me and said they just want me to play DH,” he said.

“Whatever they want me to do, I do it. Now, I’m here to do the job, and everytime they need me, I’ll do the job.”

Update: The Orioles chose Frederick for Flaherty because the Keys are on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention, enabling the young infielder to return when their season ends.

Because of Flaherty’s service time, the Orioles aren’t allowed to option him to the Gulf Coast League.

The Orioles are expected to recall Kevin Gausman after tonight’s game. They could option tonight’s starter, Wei-Yin Chen, to the Gulf Coast League and bring him back in time for his next start.

There are basically just paper moves.

Miguel Gonzalez is available in the bullpen tonight. He’s expected to start Friday in New York.

Shameless plug alert: I’m doing a live hit from Fenway Park at 6 p.m. for “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” on MASN.

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