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Pirates grant Hawpe unconditional release

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Brad Hawpe still had a couple days to ask for a release if the Pirates didn't put him on the Major League roster. The classy, realistic veteran saw no need to wait.

Hawpe, 33, asked for and was granted his unconditional release Saturday morning.

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The former mainstay in Colorado's outfield made a convincing -- and satisfying -- physical comeback this spring after having Tommy John surgery in late 2011. The comeback with the bat proved more challenging. Hawpe hit .139 in 16 preseason games. He missed too many pitches, fanning 18 times in 36 at-bats.

Hawpe's release leaves 39 players in the Pirates' Major League camp, including six outfielders -- among them another non-roster invitee, Felix Pie.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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