Orioles designated hitters off to a woeful start

April 09, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

BOSTON -- It’s a thought that most Orioles fans can’t imagine, but it’s true.

The Orioles really miss Wilson Betemit.

You don’t know how much you miss things until they're gone – or they’re out six to eight weeks.

I’ve seen many comments and tweets since last season berating the Orioles’ acquisition of Betemit two offseasons ago. And while the idea of giving Betemit – who isn’t a great defensive player – a two-year guaranteed deal with a vesting option for a third doesn’t pass a first-glance litmus test, the Orioles could definitely use him in the designated hitter slot these days.

In case you missed it, Orioles designated hitters are 1-for-23 through the first week of the season.

The dilemma could be solved soon if Nolan Reimold is able to return from right hamstring tightness later this week. But it sure would be nice for Orioles manager Buck Showalter to have the option of a power bat like Betemit.

Yes, Betemit does do most of his damage from the left-handed side –his .302 average against right-handers is much better than his woeful .140 average against lefties – but it would be a hard argument to make that you wouldn’t rather see him in the Orioles lineup at DH over Steve Pearce, who started Monday’s game against right-hander Clay Buchholz.

That’s no disrespect to Pearce, but Showalter said it himself when Pearce first made the team out of camp – that he was the best fit for what the team needs, which back then was a right-handed bat off the bench that can provide some power and play both first base and the corner outfield positions if needed.

Again, the solution could come soon when Reimold returns and he and Nate McLouth could split left-field/DH duties, but for now there’s a glaring hole in the Orioles lineup and it’s at the DH spot.

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