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Arencibia goes off against Orioles, insists release not a motivator

Rays catcher J.P. Arencibia drove in six runs on three hits against his former team on Tuesday night. AP/Patrick Semansky

For the Baltimore Orioles, there were a lot of factors that contributed to Tuesday’s 11-2 loss to Tampa Bay. Chief among them was J.P. Arencibia, who collected three hits, including a two-run 7th inning homer off T.J. McFarland, and drove in six for the Rays.

It was an ironic twist of fate for Arencibia, who spent spring training with the Orioles this year but didn’t make the big club. After going just 2-for-17 in spring training, the 29-year-old catcher, who was a starter in Toronto from 2011 to 2013 and spent last season as a backup with the Rangers, was told he would start the season in Norfolk, only to be released on Opening Day.

“They painted a pretty picture for me, like all teams do for everybody," Arencibia said. "But I don’t think I was in their plans.”

A week after being let go by Baltimore, Arencibia was signed by the Rays and assigned to Triple-A Durham. Last week, when backup catcher Curt Casali went on the DL, Arencibia suddenly found himself back in the bigs.

Yesterday, Arencibia, a powerful right hand-handed hitter who clubbed 62 home runs during his three full seasons in Toronto, hit his first major league home run in nearly a year on Tuesday night and generally put a licking on the club that cut him loose just five months ago.

As much as the media likes to sing the jilted-athlete-with-chip-on-his-shoulder refrain, Arencibia insisted that wasn’t at all the case yesterday.

“I don’t have hard feelings. I enjoyed my time with them in spring training,” he said earlier Wednesday. “I’m not the first or last person that’s happened to in baseball.”

If there wasn’t any extra motivation going into the game, was there any extra satisfaction coming out of it? “I don’t care who I’m playing against,” he said. "I’m just trying to help the team win. It just happened to be against the Orioles.”