Phillies Release Yuniesky Betancourt

The Phillies have released Yuniesky Betancourt, tweets's Todd Zolecki. The Phillies signed Betancourt to a minor league contract in January.

"It was a very difficult decision," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He played great for us. We had some other guys feel great, and we’re comfortable with where we are as far as those players are concerned."

Those players would be Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen. Agent Alex Esteban told's Jayson Stark that Betancourt requested his release by exercising his out clause and there are three teams who are interested in his client (Twitter link). Gelb tweeted the Phillies tried to trade Betancourt, but other teams walked away.

Jim Salisbury of tweets both the Yankees and Cardinals are "poking around" Betancourt. The mention of the Yankees is interesting, as GM Brian Cashman told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News earlier today that he won't be looking outside the organization for a shortstop despite Derek Jeter's ailing ankle (Twitter link). The Giants and Brewers are in the market for an utility infielder and could be interested in Betancourt, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Twitter.

Betancourt hit just .228/.256/.400 with seven home runs in 228 plate appearances for the Royals last season. The 31-year-old is in the midst of an incredibly strong Spring Training collecting 21 hits in 47 at-bats en route to a .447/.451/.574 batting line with a 1.025 OPS in 51 plate appearances.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

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