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NPB’s Yomiuri Giants Release Rougned Odor After He Refuses Assignment to Minor Leagues

 Matt Tallarini  |    Mar 26th, 2024 10:28am EDT

Rougned Odor of the San Diego Padres in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during game two of a double header at Citizens Bank Park on July 15, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect that Odor was released after refusing assignment to the minor leagues in Japan.

The Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball announced on Tuesday that Venezuelan infielder Rougned Odor has released after spring training. 

The former major leaguer batted .176 with a .376 OPS and went hitless in 12 games during spring training with the Giants. 

According to The Mainichi, an English-language news website, Odor quit the Yomiuri Giants three days before the start of their first game of the 2024 season against the Hanshin Tigers at home at the Tokyo Dome after refusing to start the season in the minor leagues. The story said that Odor spoke to first-year manager Shinnosuke Abe and other front office officials and was told the organization wanted him to make adjustments on the farm team. Odor asked to be released so he could try to catch on with an MLB club, and the Giants consented.

Yomiuri Giants Executive Sadaaki Yoshimura told The Mainichi, “Odor would not accept being sent down to the farm team. We continued to explain to him in numerous conversations, but his feelings never wavered.”

Odor signed with the Yomiuri Giants on January 20, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported. 

Odor, 30, was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, and played 10 seasons in MLB with the Texas Rangers 2014-20, the New York Yankees in 2021, the Baltimore Orioles in 2022, and the San Diego Padres in 2023. 

The left-handed hitter played in the Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional with the Aguilas del Zulia during the 2023-24 season. In 23 games with Zulia, he batted .228, recording 18 hits, four doubles, one home run, four RBI, 13 walks and 10 strikeouts. 

Last season with the Padres, Odor played in 59 games, batting .203 with 28 hits, nine doubles, four home runs, 18 RBI, 17 walks, 37 strikeouts, and a .655 before he was released on July 23. 

In 2022 in Baltimore, Odor played in 135 games with 472 plate appearances and batted .207 with 88 hits, 19 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs, 53 RBI, six stolen bases, 32 walks, 109 strikeouts, and a .632 OPS. 

During his 10 seasons in MLB, Odor played in 1,154 games with a lifetime average of .230 in 1,586 plate appearances recording 930 hits, 186 doubles, 29 triples, 178 home runs, 568 RBI, 70 stolen bases, 269 walks, 1,045 strikeouts, and a .710 OPS.