Orioles release Eric Young Jr.

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles have released veteran outfielder Eric Young Jr. in the latest spring training cut, a move made despite his impressive showing at the plate and defensively.

Young was 10-for-31 (.323) with a double, home run, seven walks, nine strikeouts and two stolen bases after joining the Orioles at the beginning of camp.

“Eric has looked and played great this spring,” executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said in a statement. “Once we determined he was unlikely to make our opening day roster, we felt we would allow him to look around for a little while. We plan to keep talking to him in case he doesn’t find a better opportunity.”

Young didn’t have an opt-out in his minor league deal and said he was “a little bit” surprised.

“But at the same time I told you early in the spring I’ve been through a lot of situations where there’s not too much that can shock me,” he said. “That’s part of the business and I’m happy with the spring that I’ve had, so not too worried about that.”

Young-Hits-White-sidebar.jpgAsked if he felt that he had a good spring, Young replied, “I had a great spring. I had a great spring. And I showed that even at 33 I can hang with the young bucks. So like I said, I’m not worried about that. I did what I was supposed to do on my end.

“It’s one of those business decisions, so they’ve got to do what’s best for the organization and I’ve got to do what’s best for me now.”

Young’s agent will search for other opportunities for the veteran outfielder, who signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on Feb. 12.

“We’ll get the calls out there and see what’s needed,” he said. “I know just hearing rumblings that a few teams out there need a fourth outfielder, so with that, plus what I’ve been able to do this spring, I feel comfortable.”

Young said the Orioles gave him the option of reporting to the minor league complex if no other major league jobs become available.

“If nothing else comes to, then they’d love to have me back in the organization,” he said, “but obviously they said considering the spring I had, give me the opportunity to see what’s out there.

Young isn’t ready to retire. He fully intends to play in 2019.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “Somewhere I’m going to keep playing. I enjoy what I did this spring. I had fun out there and showed not only myself but everybody else that I can still do it.”

Young is a career .245/.312/.332 hitter in 10 major league seasons. He had a shot at the right field job or to serve as a fourth outfielder, but the Orioles are giving Rule 5 infielder Drew Jackson his first professional start in left tonight in Dunedin and are evaluating him for a super-utility role.

Cedric Mullins and Joey Rickard appear to have won jobs and Dwight Smith Jr. remains in camp.

Young said “the sky’s the limit” with the young outfielders, an impressive group that included Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, DJ Stewart and Yusniel Diaz before they were cut.

“A lot of talent,” he said. “Now they just need the experience, which some are going to get obviously now that I’m out of the race. Got nothing but love for all the guys and I want to see nothing but the best for them.”

The Orioles have 34 players in camp.

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