It's official: The Orioles have given outfielder Richard Hidalgo his release.

Executive vice president Jim Duquette, speaking to reporters in the back of the City of Palms Park press box (say that three times fast!) said Hidalgo wants to pursue offers in Japan.

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What's Japanese for "quitter?"

Duquette said he's not angry or disappointed, even though the Orioles wasted so much time and energy trying to sign the guy. And they didn't try to talk Hidalgo out of it. A few teammates were going to make the attempt - you have to assume Melvin Mora was one of them - but the decision was final.

Hidalgo left the team to be with his wife, who's ill, but he knew he wasn't coming back when he bolted the clubhouse in Jupiter before Saturday's game. He spent a total of four days in uniform after reporting to camp on Feb. 28.

I can't wait for the video tribute on Opening Day.

Game update: Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 in the third inning. Hayden Penn struggled in the first, allowing one run and three hits. It would have been worse, but Ed Rogers made a diving stop at second base and started a double play after Coco Crisp's leadoff single. Trot Nixon walked, Manny Ramirez singled in his first at-bat this spring, and Mike Lowell followed with an RBI double.

J.T. Snow struck out looking to end the inning, and Penn breezed through the second. Brian Finch has replaced him to begin the third.

Before the game, a moment of silence was observed for Elrod Hendricks and Kirby Puckett.

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