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Dontrelle Willis goes AWOL from Orioles over apparent disagreement

Dontrelle Willis has left his Triple-A Norfolk team without permission and was placed on the restricted list by the Orioles. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman confirmed with Orioles GM Dan Duquette that there was a disagreement between Willis and the team over his future role.

The Orioles reportedly want to turn Willis into a relief pitcher, but he wants to remain a starter. His agent confirmed there was a disagreement and that Willis wants to be released.

Willis was the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year after going 14-6 following an early-season callup by the Marlins. A two-time All-Star, he finished second in Cy Young voting in 2005 after going 22-10 while leading the league in wins, complete games, and shutouts. His career began going off the rails following a poor 2007 season in Florida. He was traded to Detroit where he was a disaster for two and a half seasons, and both the Diamondbacks and Reds let him go after he had poor showings for those teams.

Willis is proving he can’t be successful as a starting pitcher anymore, so maybe trying to become a reliever would be the best thing for him if he wants to continue his career. Despite his struggles, he’s still effective against left-handed hitters.

H/T Hardball Talk

Tigers Manipulating Roster at Expense of Dontrelle Willis’ Reputation

This is slightly presumptive of me, but I’m not buying the whole “Dontrelle Willis has an anxiety disorder” thing. Much like when teams put a pitcher on the disabled list after they got bombed in a game, I think this is just a convenient excuse for a bruised ego. The Dodgers placed Andruw Jones on the DL last year with a knee injury. U-Jones later admitted that he asked to get away because he was sucking so badly. I’m figuring this is the same situation for Dontrelle and the Tigers.

The D-Train has been derailed since his last season in Florida in ’07 when he went 10-15 with a 5.17 ERA. Last year with the Tigers was a nightmare as Dontrelle went 0-2 with a 9.38 ERA and 35 walks in 24 innings pitched. He was so bad he got demoted all the way down to Single-A ball — not Triple-A — which would be the logical step downward. Willis was doing even worse in Spring Training, posting an ERA north of 12. Most of the time I can see right through the move when a team places a player on the disabled list as an excuse for the guy struggling. This is clearly one of those instances.

The thing I don’t get is why the Tigers are saying Dontrelle has an anxiety disorder, one that was discovered with a blood test no less. Medical professionals argue that such a disorder can’t even be determined by a blood test! So if it’s pretty plain to see that Willis wasn’t fit to play ball right now and needed time to figure things out, why didn’t the Tigers just make up some sort of injury like teams usually do? Why not just say the guy has some sort of arm injury, or better yet, a knee injury related to the one he had surgery for last season? Why not just do that instead of telling the world he has anxiety issues? Is there really a need to kick a guy when he’s already down?

Marlins Dontrelle Willis Makes it Rain

Thanks to Matt Watson at FanHouse, Lt. Winslow and Deadspin for this brilliant story out of the Palm Beach Post…Dontrelle Willis and his fellow Marlins were making it rain at a local nudie bar several times during spring training

For at least two nights a week in March, bar staff tells Page Two, star pitcher Dontrelle Willis, described as the ringleader, second baseman Dan Uggla and others were known to swing by the Riviera Beach joint and shower the gals with dollar bills until 3 a.m.

“There’d be, like, $3,000 in singles on the table,” said waitress Nicole Spelling. “When they liked someone, a bunch of them would just go up and throw dollar bills in the air by the handful. There’d be so much money on the stage that the girls had to get champagne buckets to pick it up. And (pitcher) Randy Messenger is, like, so hot.”

How exactly Randy Messenger being so hot fits into that story I’m not quite so sure. There’s also a part in there if you follow the link about Dontrelle and the boys sending the Spelling chick (I guess she was written out of the will) off for a night to go home to her kid, but that interests me far less than the story above.

I also like the part from Willis’ agent who didn’t comment about the story. Like ballplayers hitting up a titty bar is anything new? Nope. But hitting one up without causing a riot sure is!