BOSTON -- It's been a long road for designated hitter Wilson Betemit, who was activated from the disabled list prior to Tuesday's series against the Red Sox, more than five months after a right knee injury threatened to end his season.
"I was positive all year, positive that I could come back and I'm here," said Betemit, who exited a March 25 Grapefruit League game on a cart and was later diagnosed with a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear in his right knee. "My first time running was a scare. 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."
Betemit, who is expected to start against Boston right-hander John Lackey on Wednesday, took balls at first and third base on Tuesday afternoon, although he'll likely be used as a platoon designated hitter and bat off the bench. A switch-hitter, Betemit owns a .281/.349/.474 line over his career against right-handed pitching, including a team-leading .302 average last season.
"If you had told me when I was walking out there [when the injury occurred] that Wilson would be joining us in August, I would have been real surprised," manager Buck Showalter said. "So good for him."
To clear a roster spot, the Orioles optioned second baseman Ryan Flaherty to Class A Delmarva.
Why Delmarva? The Orioles can't bring back Flaherty as a September callup unless he's at an affiliate that's done playing, so the Keys -- as opposed to their Double-A and Triple-A teams -- makes the most sense. The O's couldn't send Flaherty to the Gulf Coast League, which ends Thursday, because Flaherty has too much Minor League service time. So barring an injury, this was the move that gets Flaherty back with Baltimore the quickest with Delmarva's season ending on Monday.
"I talk to our players about it. They understand," Showalter said of his conversation Tuesday afternoon with Flaherty. "If we were in a little bit better position with our starting pitching, we would have tried to look in a different direction. We've seen this coming for two or three days and ran about seven scenarios around. This one fit the best for where we are now. Keep all the pieces in place."
Flaherty, 26, has put together a .218/.280/.364 batting line with eight home runs and 20 RBIs in 75 games for the Orioles this season.
Rodriguez headlines O's prospects going to AFL
BOSTON -- The Arizona Fall League rosters were announced Tuesday afternoon, and the Orioles will send pitching prospects Eduardo Rodriguez, Branden Kline, Jason Gurka and Tim Berry, along with catcher Michael Ohlman, infielder Jonathan Schoop and outfielders Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia.
All are on the Surprise Saguaros, which will be managed by Double-A Bowie's Gary Kendall. Alan Mills, short-season Aberdeen's pitching coach, will serve the same role for the Saguaros.
Asked if those selected for the AFL wouldn't be considerations for September callups, manager Buck Showalter said not necessarily. Schoop and Urrutia, who batted .269 in 21 games with Baltimore earlier this month, are both strong candidates to join the big league club when rosters can expand Sunday.
"All the guys we sent there, I'm looking forward to going out there and watching them play," Showalter said of the AFL season, which begins in October. "That's all guys that have a chance to impact us. I really like the group we are sending out there. ... It's a good group, a really good group. If you compare it to years in the past what we've sent out there, you can see why I feel that way."
Schoop, the organization's top position player prospect, is batting .253 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 62 games with Triple-A Norfolk. He missed about two months of the season with a stress fracture in his lower back. The 20-year-old Rodriguez is 9-7 with a 3.56 ERA over 24 starts between Class A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. The lefty is 3-3 with a 4.70 ERA for Bowie and is coming off an impressive eight scoreless innings on Monday night.
Urrutia is batting .361 with nine homers and 49 RBIs at Norfolk, and he hit .269 in 21 games with the Orioles. Alvarez, 24, was recently promoted to Bowie after hitting .436 in 10 games for Frederick.
Berry, a lefty, is 9-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 25 starts at Frederick. A left-handed reliever, Gurka is 2-2 with a 2.95 ERA over 39 2/3 innings for Bowie. Kline has been sidelined since May after undergoing surgery on his right ankle, and he went 1-2 with a 5.86 ERA in seven starts for Class A Delmarva prior to the injury.
Ohlman is hitting .308 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs through 93 games with Frederick.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.