Orioles minor leaguer Tyler Townsend has retired

Tyler Townsend, a once-promising first base prospect, has told the Orioles he is retiring from baseball. The club’s third-round pick in the 2009 draft out of Florida International often dealt with hamstring issues in his career and had not played in any games during spring training this year due to wrist and hip injuries.

After a 2010 season when he hit a combined .325 between Single-A Delmarva and Single-A Frederick, Townsend had a very strong season when he was healthy for the Keys in 2011. In 67 Frederick games he batted .317 with 24 doubles, 13 homers, 50 RBIs and an OPS of .941.

“It was a combination of injuries and he just felt that his heart wasn’t in it right now,” Orioles director of player development Brian Graham said tonight. “First and foremost, I care about Tyler because he wasn’t happy. He was just not enjoying the process and I think injuries played a big part in that and were taking a toll on him. I hope Tyler is comfortable with the decision he made, but the other side of the coin was he could swing the bat. Wish we could have seen him at full health.”

Townsend, who was the 85th overall selection in 2009, played in 223 games in his O’s career, rising as high as Double-A Bowie, where he hit .247 in 21 games last summer. He hit .272 in his career with 36 homers, 158 RBIs and an .835 OPS.

Could he have been a big leaguer had he stayed healthy?

“You never know, but he had a great swing, that is all I know. Certainly, you never know what level he would have been able to get to,” Graham said.

Meanwhile, Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia has now played in four Orioles minor league games, two as the DH, and played in right field the last two days. He had two hits in today’s game at Twin Lakes Park.

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