Brewers leave door open for Richardson return

Outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson, No. 20 on MLB.com’s list of the top 20 Brewers prospects entering this season, has decided to give up baseball, the Herald of Albany, Ga. reported last week.

Richardson was a baseball and football star at Florida State when the Brewers made him a fifth-round Draft pick in 2009 and convinced him to focus on baseball. He played last season at Class A Brevard County but missed 2012 Spring Training with what a Brewers official told MLB.com was a “personal issue;” it appears that issue was Richardson’s decision to hang up his cleats.

“Sometimes, you just have to give it up whenever it’s not as fun as it used to be,” Richardson told the newspaper. “It’s a game we’ve played our whole life, and we should just be able to go out and have fun doing it. Practice was fun, the games were fun, but all the traveling and being away from my family and friends [was difficult].

“Right now, I just want to get my degree, take what I learned from the experience and get my life back on track. I learned a lot from this, and maybe my only regret is that I should’ve been more patient with football and stayed in school.”

He was a quarterback for the Seminoles. Now, he told the Herald, he plans to return to FSU to complete a degree in physical education.

“When I’m done, I’d like to start coaching football,” he said. “That’s the sport I always preferred anyway.”

UPDATE: Here’s what farm director Reid Nichols said about the situation:

“We’ve talked, and he still has the desire to play, he just needs to find his way through it,” Nichols said. “We’ve discussed the possibility of him coming back; we do have him under control, he’s on our roster. So we just have to give it time, and if everything works right, he shows the desire we feel is appropriate, he’s in shape, we’ll consider talking to him about coming back next year.”

The Brewers learned of Richardson’s doubts when they were trying to book his travel for Spring Training and he resisted. Nichols played phone tag with the soon-to-be 24-year-old last week and said that while Richardson will not play in 2012, he remains open to a change of heart for 2013.

“You can’t help but like the tools,” Nichols said. “But he does need to get his priorities right. The game is hard enough for a player who really wants to play and would sacrifice everything to do that. Then, when you add in the doubts — ‘Is this really what I want to do?’ — any time there’s failure you’re going to start wondering whether you should be there or not.

“He has to show the desire to want to be there, and go through the hard times that it takes to become a Major League player. If he can convince us that’s where he is, then we’ll consider bringing him back.”

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