Strop pitches through distraction of Betemit injury

SARASOTA, Fla. - Pedro Strop sat in the Orioles’ bullpen during today’s game and tried to get an update on his teammate and close friend, Wilson Betemit, who was carted off the field with an injury to his right knee.

Strop asked a reporter who was walking past him. He kept hoping for good news.

Then he had to pitch.

“It was hard for me, because we are always talking in the offseason, we are in contact, and I know how hard he worked this offseason to get his swing ready and everything,” Strop said.

“He worked hard. He started working in December. He didn’t even want to play in winter ball because he wanted to prepare his body. For me, it was hard to see him laying down there. You can see how good he was swinging the bat, too.”

Strop paused, let out a sigh and added, “It was just something I didn’t want to see.”

Making only his second appearance since returning from the World Baseball Classic, Strop allowed three runs and four hits in the seventh inning, as the Red Sox rallied to tie the game 9-9.

“The whole time (after the injury), we were talking about it,” Strop said. “It took a lot of attention from us. But I mean ... by the time I was pitching in there, I wasn’t thinking about it. I was just trying to make my pitches and everything. But it stole everybody’s attention, everybody was talking about it.

“Hopefully, everything is all right. It’s tough to see one of your teammates (get hurt), and even more when you know how hard he worked for the 2013 season.”

The Orioles may have to replace Betemit’s bat, which is a weapon from the left side of the plate.

“It’s a good bat, but we have some good guys, some good bats, some guys that can hit, like right now you see (Steve) Pearce, Lew Ford, Conor Jackson,” Strop said. “Those guys can hit. They are swinging the bat pretty well and one of those guys can fill the hole pretty well. But it would have been better if you have Betemit and then one of those guys, too, so you have two bats.

“Let’s see. Buck (Showalter) is pretty good at filling the holes and I know that’s going to be his job now.”

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