Blue Jays grant Vladimir Guerrero's wish for release

Vladimir Guerrero on Tuesday was granted his wish to be released from his pro-rated $1.3-million US minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Slugger was hitting .303 with 4 RBIs in 8 games at AAA Las Vegas

Former Orioles' designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero hit .303 in his first eight games with the Blue Jays' AAA affiliate in Las Vegas, adding four runs batted in. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press files)

Vladimir Guerrero has decided the Toronto Blue Jays are no longer a good fit.

The slugger on Tuesday was granted his wish to be released from his pro-rated $1.3-million US base salary minor league contract after reportedly leaving the AAA Las Vegas 51s late Monday night to return to his home in Anaheim, Calif.

"He played [Monday] night and he decided that was enough for him," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Tuesday at Rogers Centre before Toronto's game against the Washington Nationals. "He felt he was worthy of a callup and we weren't prepared to do that right now."

It's believed an extended deadline to summon Guerrero from the minors passed on Monday without word from Blue Jays officials, according to The original deadline of Sunday was said to be moved ahead by a day because Guerrero missed a game after taking a pitch off his hand Saturday.

"We're relying on our staff to make the evaluation for us and they felt he needed some more games and we obviously felt that as well," Anthopoulos said. "He had the right at any time to go and he made that decision. He was slowly starting to get better and obviously [Monday] night he had a very good night. In all fairness to the team the entire team did very well [with 17 hits]."

Before departing Las Vegas, Guerrero went 4-for-5 in Monday’s 13-3 win over Tucson. He drove in two runs and finished with a .303 batting average and four runs batted in through eight games with the 51s.

Anthopoulos also said he believed the slugger wasn't far off from returning to a big league roster.

"Oh sure, no doubt about it," he said. "He started to play well, play lot better. I would never count him out. There's no question he's going to have opportunities, no doubt about it." 

Toronto signed the 37-year-old to a minor league contract on May 10. He appeared in four games for single-A Dunedin at extended spring training in Florida and hit .450 (9-for-20) with four homers and eight RBIs.

A 16-year veteran, Guerrero won the 2004 American League MVP award with the Angels and boasts a career .318 average with 449 homers an 1,496 RBIs.

Guerrero hit at a .290 clip with a .416 slugging percentage in 145 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season.

In other Blue Jay moves Tuesday, infielder Yan Gomes was optioned to Las Vegas. He hit .226 with three homers and eight RBIs in 14 games this season.

With files from The Canadian Press