Orioles infielder Alcides Escobar was granted his unconditional release Wednesday, the team announced, as the club took another step toward paring down its Opening Day roster.
Escobar, a former All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner with the Kansas City Royals, signed a minor league contract during the first week of camp as cover for Rule 5 shortstops Richie Martin and Drew Jackson, neither of whom has ever played above Double-A.
The veteran Escobar had a strong start to camp but tapered off at the plate, and was batting .219 when he was granted his release. MLB.com reported he had an opt-out in his contract for Wednesday.
With Escobar released, the Orioles have 38 players in camp, and there could be a few beneficiaries in the club not taking Escobar for Opening Day, namely corner infielder Rio Ruiz and infielder Hanser Alberto.