Agent: Duffy relents, accepts demotion to minors

Updated: June 12, 2006, 1:11 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

Pittsburgh outfielder Chris Duffy, who spent nearly a month away from baseball after refusing to accept a demotion to the minor leagues, has decided to return and will report to the Pirates' extended spring training facility in Florida on Tuesday, his agent told ESPN.com.

"Chris had some personal things to take care of that needed to be done. But he got them taken care of, and now he feels great and he's looking forward to getting back on the field," said agent Mike Nicotera. "Things are very positive right now."

Duffy, 26, was batting .194 when the Pirates optioned him to Triple A Indianapolis on May 14. When Duffy refused to report to the International League, he was placed on the restricted list, and the Pirates weren't obligated to pay him his $148,000 minor-league salary.

Duffy has been working out at his home in Arizona and taking part in baseball activities to stay in shape, Nicotera said. The agent said he expects the Pirates to assign Duffy to Indianapolis when he's ready to resume playing.

"We've kept the Pirates informed every step of the way, and they've been very respectful of the personal nature of Chris' situation," Nicotera said. "It's not as if the team didn't know what was going on."

At one point during Duffy's hiatus, Pittsburgh media outlets speculated that he had lost his desire for the game and might consider retiring. Duffy had expressed displeasure in spring training over the Pirates' attempt to change his approach at the plate.

Duffy, Pittsburgh's eighth-round pick in the 2001 draft, hit .341 in 39 games with the Pirates last season. Nate McLouth, who beat out Duffy for the starting center field job in May, is hitting .227 with three home runs in 163 at-bats this season.

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer