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 the big leagues.
The 43-year-old Glavine, who was the winningest active pitcher with a record of 305-203 but was coming back from shoulder and elbow surgery, threw six scoreless innings for Single-A Rome on Tuesday and proclaimed himself ready to pitch in the majors again.
Instead, the Braves cut the left-hander, another move that figures to draw the ire of Atlanta fans after the team failed to re-sign John Smoltz during the offseason.
General manager Frank Wren said the decision had nothing to do with a $1 million bonus that Glavine would have received for being placed on the major league 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 Saturday to start against Milwaukee. Glavine, meanwhile, apparently hopes to keep pitching.
“We gave (Glavine) the option, ‘If you want to retire, you can retire as a Brave,’ ” Wren said. “He asked us to release him.”
The Braves made another major move Wednesday, acquiring All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates for three prospects.
The 27-year-old McLouth was an All-Star last season and set career highs with a .276 average, 26 homers and 94 RBI. The Braves were in desperate need of more offense from an outfield that produced only 10 homers through the first 51 games.
Atlanta gave up outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, one of its top prospects, along with pitchers Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke.
Wren said Glavine’s impressive performance in the minors had no impact on the team’s assessment of his ability to pitch in the big leagues.
“We’ve been evaluating him the last four weeks,” Wren said. “The pitching line is irrelevant when you’re pitching in low A-ball. The line is not relevant as to whether you can get major league hitters out.”
Glavine pitched his first 16 seasons for the Braves, then spent 2003 to 2007 with the New York Mets before returning to Atlanta with a one-year deal in 2008.
This spring, the Braves signed Glavine to a $3.5 million deal that included a $1 million bonus when he was placed on the active roster and $1.25 million each for 30 and 90 days on the active roster.
He never made it back — at least not with Atlanta.
Shortly before his first scheduled start with the Braves, Glavine began feeling pain in his shoulder. He made two rehab starts for Triple-A Gwinnett, throwing five shutout innings in his second appearance, and he added to his scoreless streak at Rome.
Wren said the numbers didn’t matter.
“The comeback was not working,” the GM said. “Our evaluation was he would not be successful.”
Hughes out, Wang in
The surging New York Yankees have put Chien-Ming Wang back in the starting rotation and moved Phil Hughes to the bullpen.
Wang got off to an awful start this season before going on the disabled list with weakness in the adductor muscles in his hips. He has pitched well since he was activated May 22, allowing two runs and nine hits in eight innings over three relief appearances to lower his ERA from 34.50 to 16.07. He will start today against Texas.
Hughes, who joined the rotation when Wang went on the DL, is 3-2 with a 5.45 ERA in seven starts this year. He said his two games in the 2007 AL division series against Cleveland are the only times in his life that he has worked out of the bullpen.
“I’ll do whatever the team needs,” Hughes said. “Right now, that’s being in the bullpen.”
Atlanta placed pitcher Jorge Campillo on the 15-day disabled list because of shoulder problems. … Cleveland Indians middle infielder Asdrubal Cabrera was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained left shoulder. Cabrera became the ninth player on Cleveland’s DL, tied for most in the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays. … Reliever J.C. Romero is back with the Philadelphia Phillies following his 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. “I feel free,” he said. … Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria is not expected to go on the disabled list because of a sore left hamstring. … San Diego Padres outfielder Scott Hairston has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left biceps. The Padres filled his roster spot by recalling outfielder Will Venable from Triple-A Portland. … The Chicago Cubs won’t say if suspended pitcher Carlos Zambrano was disciplined for missing the team’s charter flight to Atlanta. Zambrano made his own arrangements to get to Atlanta for a series that began Tuesday.