Orioles sign infielder Bill Hall to minor-league deal; Willis AWOL?

April 24, 2012 | WNST Staff

With Norfolk Tides third baseman Josh Bell having been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Orioles have signed veteran Bill Hall to take his place at Triple A.

The 32-year-old Hall became a free agent after failing to make the Yankees’ 25-man roster during spring training. He split time with Houston and San Francisco last year, hitting .211 in 62 games.

The Orioles hope Hall will bring organizational depth as well as solid defense and a viable option against left-handed pitching. He has a .258 career average against southpaws in his 10-year career. His best year in the majors came in 2006 when Hall hit .270 with 35 home runs and 85 runs batted in.

Meanwhile, veteran lefty Dontrelle Willis reportedly left Triple-A Norfolk without permission from the team in a bizarre story that surfaced Monday. Unhappy with his new role as a relief pitcher, Willis would like to be released in order to search for an opportunity to return to starting elsewhere.

Willis was placed on the restricted list after suffering a forearm strain on April 12.