Willis released, Steve Johnson honored (Peterson update)

The Orioles have officially released left-hander Dontrelle Willis, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.

My first reaction was, “Dontrelle Willis was still in the organization?”

The Orioles must have taken the hint when he retired July 2. They sent out a tweet to confirm it. But I guess releasing him after the season was some kind of a procedural move.

Willis was 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA in four appearances for Triple-A Norfolk, with six earned runs (eight total) and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked eight and struck out six.

Willis made one start for Norfolk after returning to the team following a dispute over his status - the Orioles placed him on the restricted list - and reporting to extended spring training in Sarasota. He no longer wanted to work as a reliever, claiming that his forearm injury resulted in the change in his routine.

Originally signed in spring training to serve as a lefty specialist, Willis started against Columbus on June 28 and allowed four runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Gone, but not forgotten.

In other news, the Mid-Atlantic Scouts Association will present pitcher Steve Johnson with an award for “Most Outstanding Achievement in Professional Baseball.” A banquet will be held on Nov. 10 at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

Recent recipients include Michael Cuddyer and Don Kelly.

Johnson went 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 12 games, including four starts, as a rookie, with 18 walks and 46 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings. He’ll compete for a spot in the rotation next spring.

The award goes to a prospect/player from the Mid-Atlantic region who’s signed by a scout from the same region. Clair Rierson of the Dodgers signed Johnson.

NOTE: The Orioles have granted permission for the Red Sox to interview Rick Peterson for the position of pitching coach.

Peterson, who completed his first season as the Orioles’ director of pitching development, formerly served as pitching coach for the Athletics, Mets and Brewers.

The Boston Globe first reported that the Red Sox would interview Peterson.

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