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Braves release 305-game winner Glavine

ATLANTA - 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 coming back from shoulder and elbow surgery, threw six scoreless innings for Class-A Rome on Tuesday night and proclaimed himself ready to pitch in the majors again.

Instead, the Braves cut him, 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."

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 and everyone felt we had a better chance to win at the major league level with one of our younger pitchers," 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."

The Braves closed the clubhouse before the game.