The D-Train starting era began at Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday
It didn’t last long.
Veteran lefty Dontrelle Willis, making his first start for the Tides, lasted just 2 2/3 innings.
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He gave up four earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four batters against Columbus, the Cleveland Indians’ top affiliate. He threw 70 pitches, only 43 for strikes.
Not exactly what the Orioles or Willis were looking for considering Dontrelle-Gate back in April.
The Orioles signed the affable 30-year-old to be a situational reliever in March after he was cut by the Philadelphia Phillies.
He went to Norfolk, pitched out of the bullpen, dealt with some arm soreness and decided he wanted to start again. It gets cloudy from here, but basically when the Orioles told Willis they didn’t want him to start, he left the organization, thinking he got his release.
But Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Willis was never released and had left without permission. Willis was put on the restricted list. And the two sides were at a standstill until finally the Orioles agreed to allow him to go to Sarasota and build up his arm strength until he could start again.
That time finally arrived. And it ended in 2 2/3 innings.