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03/30/09 12:18 PM ET

Rays release veteran Ensberg

Crowded Triple-A roster left team with tough call on infielder

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Veteran infielder Morgan Ensberg was released by the Rays on Monday morning.

Ensberg said he was surprised because he thought he would have a spot at Triple-A Durham, but he said he was happy to have had the opportunity with the Rays.

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"He had a very nice spring, he'd done a lot of nice things, thought he was playing a lot better," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The problem was that there just wasn't going to be any room at Triple-A, so we wanted to do that now."

Maddon called Ensberg "a really classy guy."

"Spoke really well with him at the end there," Maddon said. "Just different. Just handles himself really, really well. It would have been nice to be able to keep him, but we just can't."

Ensberg, 33, hit .203 in 28 games with the Yankees in 2008 and .189 in 52 games with Cleveland's Triple-A team in Buffalo. He hit .227 with four RBIs this spring.

Ensberg has played eight Major League seasons with Houston, San Diego and the Yankees, compiling a .263 career average with 110 home runs and 347 RBIs. His best season came with the Astros in 2005, when he hit .283 with 36 home runs and 101 RBIs.

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