SARASOTA, Fla. - At the risk of getting too far ahead of ourselves, today’s injury to Wilson Betemit would seem to increase the chances that Ryan Flaherty makes the team.
Flaherty already had placed himself in a favorable position, and his left-handed bat would be a good replacement for Betemit, who isn’t nearly as productive from the right side of the plate.
If Betemit is out for an extended period, the Orioles also could keep one of their right-handed hitting first basemen/outfielders. Steve Pearce is batting .378 and leads the club with six homers and 15 RBIs.
Betemit will most likely undergo an MRI on his knee. The original diagnosis is a sprained ligament.
Pedro Strop allowed three runs in the top of the seventh inning, but J.J. Hardy broke a 9-9 tie with a three-run homer off Boston reliever Miguel Celestino. Hardy also has two doubles today.
Hardy was 4-for-35 with two homers and five RBIs heading into the game.
Adam Jones has homered twice and singled. Chris Davis has three hits.
Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland gave up four runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.
“The results weren’t necessarily what I wanted to see, but in the game, I felt good,” he said. “I had a real good changeup, was around the zone, throwing strikes. Really going into the game, that’s all I was asking for, to get a good feel for all my pitches and throw strikes.”
McFarland’s first start just happened to air on ESPN, adding to the pressure.
“I have nerves every time I go out to throw,” he said. “Usually I can overcome them and they’re good nerves. I’m excited to pitch. But not any more or any less than what it normally is. I was able to calm myself before the game and just go out there like any other day.”
The windy conditions were a challenge for everyone who stepped on the mound.
“For me, I mainly am a sinkerballer, and of course I left it up a few times today and the wind caught hold of it,” McFarland said. “You you think about it and you are aware of it and you try to pitch down in the zone and sometimes you leave it up.”
The Orioles must figure out a way to keep McFarland on the 25-man roster. If it happens, he’s likely to be slotted as a long reliever.
“A big part of my game is my versatility as far as coming out of the ‘pen, and if there’s a necessary spot start, I can handle it,” he said. “I think I went out there and showed them I can start a game. And with some more pitches, maybe get through five, six innings.”
Today’s attendance: 8,078, the sixth sellout at Ed Smith Stadium this spring.