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Atlanta offloads starter Glavine

IN a stunning move, the Atlanta Braves released 305-game winner Tom Glavine on Wednesday, just when it seemed he was ready to return to Major League Baseball.

The 43-year-old Glavine, who was coming back from shoulder and elbow surgery, threw six scoreless innings for Class-A Rome on Tuesday and proclaimed himself ready to pitch in the majors again.

Instead, the Braves cut him, another move that will draw the ire of Atlanta fans after the team failed to re-sign John Smoltz during the offseason.

Glavine, the winningest active pitcher in MLB with a 305-203 record, described himself as "very surprised" in a text message.

General Manager Frank Wren said the decision had nothing to do with a US$1 million bonus that Glavine would have received for being placed on the roster. Instead, the team felt it had a better chance to win with a younger pitcher in the rotation.

"This was not a business decision," Wren said. "This was a performance decision."

Top prospect Tommy Hanson will be called up tomorrow to start against Milwaukee. Glavine, meanwhile, hasn't decided whether he wants to join another team.

Glavine, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, was still trying to deal with what appeared to be another bitter split from the Braves. "We gave (Glavine) the option, 'If you want to retire, you can retire as a Brave'," Wren said. "He asked us to release him."

Glavine pitched his first 16 seasons for the Braves, then signed with the New York Mets before the 2003 season after negotiations with Atlanta turned bitter.

The left-hander pitched five seasons for the Mets, then reconciled with the Braves. Glavine returned to Atlanta with a one-year deal in 2008, intent on closing his career with his original team.

He pitched only 13 games before his season ended with an elbow injury that required surgery. He also had some work done on his shoulder, and negotiations on a return to the Braves dragged on beyond the start of spring training.

Glavine finally signed a US$3.5 million deal that included a US$1 million bonus when he was placed on the active roster and US$1.25 million each for 30 and 90 days on the active roster.


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