|Tampa Bay Rays – No. 15|
November 2, 1981 |
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
|Bats: Switch||Throws: Right|
|September 18, 2001 for the Atlanta Braves|
(through 2013 season)
|Runs batted in||283|
|On-base plus slugging||.774|
Wilson Betemit (pronounced BET-a-mitt) (born November 2, 1981) is a Dominican professional baseball infielder in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He is 6'2" and weighs 220 pounds. He has previously played for the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles.
Betemit is a 1996 graduate of Jurczak High School, where he played baseball. He was signed as an undrafted free agent shortstop by the Atlanta Braves on July 28, 1996 when he was 14 and a half years old. According to Major League Baseball's age restrictions regarding the signing of minors, teams are not allowed to sign anyone under the age of sixteen. Because of this rule violation, the Braves were fined $100,000 and prohibited from scouting and signing players from the Dominican Republic for six months in 2000.
Betemit started 2001 with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in Advanced-A ball (hitting the first inside-the-park home run in Pelicans history on June 11), and was promoted mid-season to the Greenville Braves in AA. He hit .355 with Greenville, and was named the Braves top prospect for the second year in a row. He was also the Braves Minor League Player of the Year, the Florida State League All-Star shortstop, and the Baseball America 2nd team minor league all-star shortstop.
Called up to the Braves in September, he made his major league debut on September 18, 2001, as a pinch runner against the Philadelphia Phillies. He was 0 for 8 for the Braves in limited pinch hitting opportunities.
In 2002, he was sent to the AAA Richmond Braves to start the season, but spent significant portions of the season on the disabled list due to various ailments. Despite a sub-par, injury-ridden season, he was still named the Braves second-best pro prospect after the season.
Betemit finally broke out in 2005 as the Braves' principal reserve infielder, frequently filling in at third base for the Braves' oft-injured star third baseman Chipper Jones, hitting .305 for the season. He hit his first career home run on April 27 against New York Mets pitcher Tom Glavine.
In the offseason, following shortstop Rafael Furcal's free agency in the winter of 2005, the Braves considered giving Betemit the starting shortstop job. However, they decided instead to trade for shortstop Edgar Rentería from the Boston Red Sox. Betemit continued to play a valuable role for the Braves as a pinch hitter and backup for second baseman Marcus Giles, Rentería, and Chipper Jones.
Los Angeles Dodgers
On July 28, 2006, Betemit was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for relief pitcher Danys Baez and infielder Willy Aybar. He made his debut for the Dodgers on July 30, 2006, playing third base against the Washington Nationals. He finished the season with a batting average of .241 with 9 home runs and 24 RBI.
He was expected to be the Dodgers starting third baseman in 2007, but poor play resulted in his becoming a part-time starter and pinch hitter. He hit pinch hit home runs in consecutive games against the Braves in May 2007. He hit 10 home runs and 26 RBI in 84 games.
New York Yankees
On July 31, 2007, the Dodgers traded Betemit to the New York Yankees for relief pitcher Scott Proctor. On August 2, 2007, Betemit homered in his first Yankee at bat while filling in at shortstop for Derek Jeter and was given a curtain call by the fans in attendance. His entrance song is Pearl Jam's "Better Man." On May 9, 2008, Betemit was the victim of Detroit Tigers's pitcher Kenny Rogers' record setting 92nd career pickoff.
Chicago White Sox
On November 13, 2008 Betemit, and minor league pitchers Jeffrey Marquez and Jhonny Núñez were traded to the Chicago White Sox for first baseman Nick Swisher and minor league pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.
Kansas City Royals
On November 12, 2009 Betemit signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals. He began the 2010 season with Kansas City's Class AAA affiliate, the Omaha Royals of the Pacific Coast League.
On March 25, 2013, Wilson was carried out on a stretcher during a spring-training game against the Boston Red Sox with an apparent ligament injury to his right knee. He started a rehab assignment on August 6, serving time with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys, and Norfolk Tides. The Orioles activated him from the 60-day disabled list on August 27. He was designated for assignment on September 16, 2013. He was released on September 24.
Tampa Bay Rays
Pronunciation of last name
The pronunciation of Betemit's last name has been debated by baseball broadcasters and fans. Betemit has stated that he pronounces his name the way it is pronounced in his native Dominican Republic, i.e. "Bay-tah-mee", not "Bet-eh-mitt". ("The 't' is silent," he explains.) However, Betemit has also said that he does not especially care that many American baseball broadcasters have "Americanized" his name by pronouncing the "t".
In an interview in 2006, Atlanta Braves announcer Joe Simpson related that he had asked Betemit about halfway through that season how to pronounce his name, and when told the answer, apologized to him, saying, "I've been pronouncing your name wrong all this time, but I'm gonna pronounce it right from now on!"
Date of birth
There was some confusion surrounding Betemit's date of birth. His official Player Profile on MLB.com used to list it as 1980-07-28, while other sources, including his information page on respected statistics site Baseball-Reference.com, have it as 1981-11-02. An article from February 2000 in the Savannah Morning News offers an explanation for the discrepancy, saying that his real birthday is 1981-11-02.
- "Wilson Betemit Stats, News, Pictures, Bio, Videos". Tampa Bay Rays - ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- "Betemit seeking to become free agent". Old.savannahnow.com. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "'Pen's mightier: Braves get Dodgers' Baez for Betemit". Associated Press. ESPN.com. July 29, 2006. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "ESPN – Yankees get infielder Betemit for reliever Proctor". Sports.espn.go.com. July 31, 2007. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- Freeman, Rick (August 2, 2007). "White Sox 13, Yankees 9". USA Today. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Rogers, Pudge help Tigers edge Yankees". Associated Press. ESPN.com. May 9, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "Yankees acquire 1B/OF Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Texeira from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for INF Wilson Betemit and two Minor League pitchers". MLBcom. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "White Sox's Gordon Beckham will be called up". ESPN.com. June 4, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Royals, Betemit agree to terms". Associated Press. ESPN.com. November 12, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "Betemit's HR in 9th gives Royals buffer to hold off Twins". Associated Press. ESPN.com. June 10, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- Axisa, Mike. "Tigers Acquire Wilson Betemit". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- "Orioles sign infielder Wilson Betemit". Associated Press. ESPN.com. January 24, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "Orioles' Wilson Betemit carted off field after ligament injury". BaltimoreNewsJournal.com. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "O's activate INF Wilson Betemit". Associated Press. ESPN.com. September 1, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- Adams, Steve (September 24, 2013). "Orioles Release Wilson Betemit". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "Rays sign Wilson Betemit". Associated Press. ESPN.com. February 6, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "Ducksnorts". 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
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