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Orioles make Betemit signing official, designate VandenHurk for assignment

By Eduardo A. Encina

The Baltimore Sun

2:25 PM EST, January 24, 2012

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UPDATE: Wilson Betemit's deal is for $3 million over two years, but the value can grow to $6 million with a 2014 vesting option based on performance incentives, according to an industry source.

The Orioles made their signing of infielder Wilson Betemit official -- the club's realease is below.

The only news is that the team has designated right-hander Rick VandenHurk for assignment.

VandenHurk, 26, joined last year's team when rosters expanded Sept. 1. He was 0-0 with an 8.00 ERA in nine innings (two starts). He was 9-13 with a 4.43 ERA in 154 1/3 innings (26 starts) at Triple-A Norfolk last year.

With all the Orioles' recent starting pitching additions, it became apparent VandenHurk might be left out in the shuffle.

The Orioles obtained VandenHurk in a 2010 nonwaiver trade deadline deal with the Marlins in exchange for left-hander Will Ohman.

He is 8-10 with a 5.96 ERA in 35 appearances (32 starts) in his major league career, mostly in 2007-2009 with the Marlins. His best major league season came in 2009, when he went 3-2 with a 4.30 ERA in 11 starts for Florida. 

Vandenhurk has been spending the offseason as one of several Orioles players training with new special assistant Brady Anderson in California. At FanFest, left-hander  Brian Matusz mentioned how hard VandenHurk was working and even joked about how good the 6-foot-5 pitcher did handstands, one of the exercises the pitchers used to improve shoulder mobility.

Here is the release:

ORIOLES SIGN FREE AGENT INF WILSON BETEMIT            

The Orioles today announced that they have signed INF 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, RHP 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.