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Rincon rejects assignment to Triple-A

Rincon rejects assignment to Triple-A

MILWAUKEE -- Right-hander Juan Rincon has rejected the Twins' offer to assign him outright to Triple-A Rochester.

Rincon's agent, Ed Setlik, confirmed the news early Friday evening.

The decision came just one day after the Twins removed the relief pitcher from their roster to make room for infielder Brian Buscher. The Twins officially designated Rincon for assignment on Friday and have 10 days to trade or release him.

The Twins are responsible for the rest of Rincon's $2.475 million salary for 2008 unless they unload some of the money in a trade.

Rincon has been in the Twins organization since the club signed him as a 17-year-old free agent out of Venezuela in 1996. He made his Major League debut with the Twins in 2001 and become one of the premier setup men in the league, posting a 2.93 ERA from 2003-06.

But recently, things haven't gone so well. Rincon's 5.13 ERA in 2007 was his highest since 2002, and he had a 6.11 ERA over 28 innings this season, giving up 33 hits and five homers over that span.

When reached by cell phone on Friday, Rincon said that it was not an easy decision to say goodbye to the only organization he has known.

"It's very sad to leave," Rincon said. "I'm 29 and I've been with this team for over a third of my life. Twelve years is a long time, a lot of memories.

"But I've got to go do something, find another team to make it back to the big leagues."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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