Willis to file grievance against Orioles

Dontrelle Willis will file a grievance over the Orioles' decision to put him on the restricted list, his agent said Tuesday.

Matt Sosnick said that both he and Willis were told by the Orioles that he had permission to leave the team, and that he would be given his release, after the pitcher told the team he was no longer interested in becoming a reliever. The Orioles signed Willis with the idea of making him a late-inning left-handed specialist, but Willis decided he preferred to start.

Duquette told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com on Monday that Willis left the Triple-A Norfolk team without permission, but Sosnick said Orioles director of baseball administration Tripp Norton told him that the team would give Willis his release.

Sosnick said that Duquette hasn't returned his phone calls since the Orioles made the decision.

"This shocked me," Sosnick said. "It blew my mind."

Norton declined comment. Duquette didn't return a text message Tuesday afternoon.

Sosnick said that Willis had told the Orioles he wasn't comfortable pitching out of the bullpen.

By putting Willis on the restricted list, rather than giving him his release, the Orioles are in effect preventing the pitcher from signing with another team.

Willis is still just 30 years old, but his career has gone downhill since he won 22 games and nearly won the National League Cy Young Award for the Marlins in 2005. Willis has made just 40 major-league appearances in the last four years combined, and in the last two years he has bounced from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks to the Giants to the Reds to the Phillies and on to the Orioles.

He made just three appearances for Norfolk, giving up four runs (two earned) in 3 2/3 innings.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com was the first to report that Willis would file a grievance.

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