Dontrelle Willis wants the baseball world to know he didn't abandon his team. If anything, he and his agent are now saying that team is holding him "hostage."
A day after reports surfaced that Willis had abruptly left Baltimore's Triple-A team without permission, Willis and his agent have fired back at the Orioles for putting the pitcher on the restricted list. Willis is filing a grievance against the O's, ESPN reports.
"I thought it was a mutual parting of ways," Willis told ESPN. "It's one of those things where, if he had told me he was putting me on the restricted list, I wouldn't have left. I didn't grab my book bag and run out of the class."
Baltimore Executive Vice President of Operations Dan Duquette said Monday that Willis and the Orioles had a disagreement over how Willis would be used, with Baltimore saying Willis would appear in relief, and Willis wanting to return to a starting role.
After the dispute, Willis reportedly left the minor league Norfolk Tides, and the Orioles put him on the restricted list. That means he can't go to another team unless that team pays Baltimore.
Matt Sosnick, Willis' agent, said Tuesday that Willis had permission to leave, and now he and Willis are filing a grievance against the Orioles so Willis can look into signing with another club.
Sosnick says Tripp Norton, the director of baseball administration for the O's, gave Willis permission to leave. Duquette has not responded to further comment, but he said Monday that no permission was given.
Willis has pitched for seven different teams in his nine-year career.