Atkins released, two others cut from camp
The Pirates have released infielder Garrett Atkins and reassigned Justin Thomas and Fernando Nieve to minor league camp.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, Atkins was informed of the news on Sunday and was not in the clubhouse for comment today.
Atkins signed a minor league deal with the Pirates in late December.
Atkins batted just .129 this spring (4-for-31) in 17 games with one home run, four RBI and 11 strikeouts.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “He came here to make the club and is a very honest self-evaluator. He saw people ahead of him and knew that there wouldn’t be an opportunity for him at Triple-A. The window of opportunity was closing. He didn’t want to take at-bats from the guys still wanting to make the club and wanting to get ready for the season. Good for him.”
Could this be the end of the road for the 31-year-old? There is no word yet on whether he will sign with another club.
Atkins’ best years came when he was with the Rockies. From 2003-09 he hit .289 with a .354 on-base percentage, 98 homers and 162 doubles.
General Manager Neal Huntington told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “This gives him an opportunity to land somewhere else. He’s working through options. Part of him thinks he still has something to offer. It does sound like he has a continuing interest to play and we’ll do everything we can to help him.”
Thomas and Nieve signed minor league deals this offseason and according to Langosch, they will start the year at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Thomas allowed six runs (one earned) on eight hits over 4.1 innings while walking four and striking out four.
Nieve allowed eight runs on 17 hits over 7.1 innings while walking two and striking out eight.
41 players remain at camp.
*Photo credit: Tribune-Review