Cardinals release Yairo Munoz after he abruptly leaves camp without telling team

Yairo Munoz had more than 500 plate appearances over the last two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and was in contention for more playing time in the team’s outfield in 2020. 

But Munoz, who said he felt something “pop” in his hamstring during his last spring training appearance and had been scheduled to undergo a medical exam this week, abruptly left the team and returned to his native Dominican Republic. Upon learning that information, the Cardinals decided to release him on Saturday. 

“Last week, he hopped on a plane and flew to the Dominican Republic, unbeknownst to us,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliaksaid, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Trying to determine what is the next, best step, we just decided based on what we’re hearing from his agent maybe cutting ties make the most sense. He just wasn’t happy here, and was frustrated with how he was used last year. Didn’t like the writing on the wall that he was seeing this year.”

Yairo Munoz rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning of a Grapefruit League game against the Washington Nationals.

According to the Post-Dispatch, the team had said as recently as this week Munoz would undergo an MRI on Thursday. He disappeared without telling anyone, but has been in contact with at least one member of the team, per the Post-Dispatch. 

“More opportunities were going to come Yairo’s way with the extra (spot) on the bench,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said, referencing the addition of one player on active rosters to 26 during the regular season. “He was going to see more opportunities. I wish him the best. I wish I had a better explanation. It’s been baffling.”

During parts of two seasons in the big leagues, Munoz batted .273/.331/.391 with 10 homers and 55 RBI. He played six different positions for St. Louis. 

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