Orioles sign veteran infielder Wilson Betemit

The Orioles today announced that they have signed infielder Wilson Betemit to a two-year contract with a vesting option for 2014.

Betemit, 30, batted .285/.343/.452 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 97 games for Kansas City (57) and Detroit (40) in 2011, including a .303 average and .865 OPS in 263 plate appearances from the left side. He has batted .298/.367/.501 with 54 extra-base hits and 69 RBI in 433 at-bats against right-handed pitching in the last two seasons. Betemit owned an .871 OPS in 133 plate appearances for the American League Central champion Tigers after being traded and appeared in four playoff games.

Originally signed by Atlanta as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic on July 28, 1996, Betemit was the youngest player in the major leagues when he made his debut at 19 during the 2001 season.

The switch hitter owns a career line of .269/.336/.448 with 63 home runs and 243 RBI in 697 games over nine seasons with Atlanta, the Dodgers, the Yankees, the White Sox, Kansas City and Detroit. Betemit has batted .277 with an .817 OPS and 50 of his 63 career home runs against right-handed pitching. He has appeared at every defensive spot except for center field and catcher in his big league career.

To clear room for Betemit on the 40-man roster, right-hander Rick VandenHurk has been designated for assignment. VandenHurk, 26, pitched to an 8.00 ERA (9.0IP, 8ER) in four games for the Orioles and was 9-13 with a 4.43 ERA (154.1IP, 76ER) in 26 starts for Triple-A Norfolk in 2011.