Mientkiewicz seeks release from Dodgers
Team retains control until opt-out clause kicks in Friday
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Doug Mientkiewicz said his request to be released was denied by the Dodgers, who retain control over the veteran until his opt-out clause takes effect on Friday.
Mientkiewicz said he left camp Friday after manager Joe Torre told him he would not make the Opening Day roster, believing he would be released. Mientkiewicz was offered a coaching position, but said he told Torre that he wanted to keep playing and that Torre told him the club would do "everything we can to help you find a job."
"But the only way to find a team is to get my release," Mientkiewicz said. "They gave Eric Gagne and Angel Berroa their releases. But they won't give me mine because they say if Garret Anderson blows out his hamstring, I'm the pinch-hitter."
Anderson apparently beat out Mientkiewicz for the left-handed pinch-hitter role, although Torre hasn't officially announced that. Mientkiewicz, who signed a Minor League contract, said he accepts having lost the competition.
"I'm not upset at that decision. I'm upset with what's transpired since then," said Mientkiewicz, who batted .292 this spring but whose injured throwing shoulder was a factor in the club's thinking.
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"I understood from the minute they signed Garret. I appreciated the chance and walked away quietly, figuring it was a no-brainer that I'd get my release. They found somebody better. When Joe told me, I assumed I was released. Next thing I know, my agent calls and says the club is calling me unprofessional for leaving. So I'm not bitter or pouting, but I feel like the Shawshank Redemption. Let me go. No place I'd rather be than with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But I'm not one of the 25. I'm OK with that. I get it. Then, why hold onto me?"
Mientkiewicz, who lives in Florida, said he's still in Arizona. He said he might speak soon with general manager Ned Colletti directly.
"Ned gave me an opportunity last year and this year, he's been fantastic to me," Mientkiewicz said. "It's just this situation we've got. Maybe we can talk this out."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.