JUPITER, Fla. -- Second baseman Pokey Reese's contract was terminated Sunday by the Florida Marlins, who said they were disappointed not to receive an explanation regarding his abrupt departure from spring training.
Reese went home following a workout Wednesday without notifying the Marlins. They later heard twice from his agent, but not directly from Reese, general manager Larry Beinfest said.
"I think that the 72 hours that have passed is more than a
reasonable amount of time for him to offer some explanation for his
unexcused absence," Beinfest said. "We still do not have that
explanation, and we're moving on."
The 32-year-old infielder has coped with a succession of tragedies, including the death of his fiancee 13 years ago. His agent, Mike Nicotera, said Reese went home to deal with personal issues.
"Pokey is fine," Nicotera said. "He's with family. When personal feelings are involved, it's very difficult to put a timetable on the resolution of those."
Nicotera said he hoped Reese would play again. The agent spoke
shortly before the Marlins released Reese and didn't return
subsequent phone calls seeking comment.
It was unclear whether Reese was in his native Columbia, S.C.,
or in Charlotte, N.C., where he also has family.
"The expectations of this organization [are] that as a
professional you'd have the courtesy to at least notify us why he
left," Beinfest said. "If he was a young player maybe without any
experience, you may have a little bit different tack, but this
guy's been around. We're extremely disappointed."
Reese, a two-time Gold Glove winner, spent all of last season on the disabled list with Seattle following shoulder surgery. He signed with Florida in December for $800,000, and was to be one of the best-paid, most experienced players for the young, cost-conscious Marlins.
"It's disappointing," manager Joe Girardi said. "He fit that
role that we needed really well, with a lot of experience and a lot
of knowledge of playing the position."
With Reese's departure, the front-runner for the second base job becomes rookie Dan Uggla, who hit .297 with 21 home runs last year
for Double-A Tennessee -- but also committed 25 errors. A trade for
a veteran is a possibility, Beinfest said.
"As normal, we'll be in touch with our scouts and start to gather information," he said. "I wouldn't rule out anything, but
is it a dire need today? The answer is no."