Dontrelle Willis drops grievance

Pitcher Dontrelle Willis has agreed to drop his grievance against the Baltimore Orioles after the team granted his request to pitch as a starter in the minor leagues, his agent told ESPN.com.

Willis, 30, will report to extended spring training in Florida this week and try to build up his innings and work his way to Baltimore, agent Matt Sosnick said. The Orioles signed Willis in late March after he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies late in spring training.

Willis left Baltimore's Triple-A Norfolk affiliate two weeks ago after a disagreement over whether he should start or relieve. Willis said he received permission to go home, but the Orioles maintained that he left the Tides without management's consent. They placed him on the restricted list, which prevented him from trying to find a job with another club. Willis responded by filing a grievance with the union.

Sosnick said the issue was settled after Tripp Norton, Baltimore's director of baseball administration, intervened in the dispute.

"This is what we suggested to the Orioles in the first place,'' Sosnick said. "I have no idea why it became so acrimonious. Cooler heads finally prevailed.''

Willis is 72-69 with a 4.17 ERA in parts of nine major league seasons. After capturing the National League Rookie of the Year award with Florida in 2003 and winning 22 games in 2005, he was dealt to Detroit with Miguel Cabrera as part of an eight-player trade in December 2007. Willis has since struggled with injuries, anxiety-related issues and a decline in velocity, and he's had limited success in stops with Arizona, San Francisco and Cincinnati.