I caught up with former Orioles first baseman Garrett Atkins as he prepared to board a plane and head home to California. As you know by now, Atkins was designated for assignment Sunday after batting just .214 with one homer and nine RBIs in 44 games.
The Orioles now have 10 days to trade, release or ask waivers on the first baseman. While saying he held no ill will toward the club, Atkins said he would have no interest in reporting to Triple-A Norfolk if he cleared waivers and the Orioles couldn't find any takers for the 30-year-old on the trade market.
"I don't anticipate that being an option," Atkins said.
Asked whether he was willing to go to the minor leagues for another organization, Atkins said: "We'll see what happens when the process is done and what opportunities are out there. I think it will definitely depend on the team or the situation whether I'll do something like that."
Atkins was not surprised when he was summoned to interim manager Juan Samuel's office Sunday and informed by president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail that the club would designate him for assignment and activate reliever Koji Uehara.
"Obviously, you kind of think it's coming with [Felix] Pie coming off the DL soon," Atkins said. "You knew there was going to be a move made. You knew it was probably going to me at some point, especially after they got [Jake] Fox. I think they decided there was no sense in having us both here.
"There wasn't really any at-bats here for me, and when I was getting them, I wasn't very productive. I think [the decision] was better for both ends. Just move along. Let's see if there is a spot out there for me on another team. … Andy has been nothing but nice from the beginning. There's nothing negative to say [about] how they handled it. I'll head back home and see if the phone rings and see if a new opportunity comes."
Needing a first baseman and a right-handed run producer, the Orioles took a gamble on Atkins, signing him to a one-year, $4.5 million deal and hoping he would be the player who averaged 25 homers and 110 RBIs for the Colorado Rockies from 2006 to 2008. Instead, they got the Atkins who hit .226 with nine homers and 48 RBIs in 126 games for Colorado and then was nontendered after the season.
Atkins said he doesn't regret the decision and still thinks he has productive years ahead of him.
"I would never question the decision to come here. It was the right opportunity at the right time," he said. "It just didn't work out. It's frustrating. I didn't envision this when I signed here, and I don't think the Orioles did as well. You just move on. Hopefully, you are able to turn it into a positive.
"I definitely think it's still in me. Taking my [batting practice] and stuff the last month or so, it's been pretty good. I've been driving the ball well. I just haven't been able to transfer it over to the games. It just hasn't happened. Obviously, I'd like to get a collection of at-bats with the swing I have, and we'll see if that comes."