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Willis leaves O's affiliate without explanation

Willis leaves O's affiliate without explanation

Willis leaves O's affiliate without explanation
Orioles left-hander Dontrelle Willis has left the club's Triple-A Norfolk affiliate without the organization's permission after being placed on the Minor League restricted list.

O's executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirmed the news to MLB.com on Monday, saying there are no plans to grant Willis his official release.

Duquette said he has not spoken to Willis since he left Norfolk. As for the reasoning behind the decision, Duquette said, "You'd have to talk to him."

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The 30-year-old Willis sat down with Duquette while the team was playing at Gwinnett (Ga.) on Thursday, and Duquette said the organization laid out a plan to get Willis the innings he needed to build him up to be a successful reliever. Duquette said Willis didn't have a problem with the plan at the time, and the organization is still holding out hope that Willis -- who reportedly wants to try his hand at being a starter again -- will return.

Signed to a Minor League deal by Baltimore after being released this spring by the Phillies, the plan from the get-go was to have Willis learn to become a lefty specialist. He suffered a left forearm strain April 12 and was placed on the restricted list -- with no specific reasoning for the move -- on Sunday night.

Matt Sosnick, Willis' agent, confirmed to CBSSports.com, which first reported the news on Monday afternoon, that the two sides had a difference in opinion and Willis had asked for his release.

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.

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