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Braves release Cabrera, Saito

Braves release Cabrera, Saito

When the Braves landed Melky Cabrera in a four-player trade with the Yankees in December, they envisioned him as a serviceable fourth outfielder. Looking toward the 2011 season, Cabrera is no longer a part of their plans.

The Braves on Monday released Cabrera and right-handed reliever Takashi Saito. They have also removed Minor League catcher J.C. Boscan from their 40-man roster.

Cabrera hit .255 with four homers and a .671 OPS in 147 games with the Braves this year. While taking some bad routes and sometimes looking lackadaisical in the field, he also proved to be a defensive disappointment.

The 26-year-old outfielder has one arbitration-eligible season remaining and stood as a prime candidate to be non-tendered. He made $3.1 million this past season. In 2009, he hit .274 with 13 homers and a .752 OPS while playing 154 games for the World Series-champion Yankees.

"When we acquired him we knew that he would be around for just one season," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "With the arbitration situation, we knew that he would likely only be around for one year."

Saito posted a 2.83 ERA in 56 appearances and, when healthy, proved to be the reliable setup man the Braves envisioned this year. But a troublesome shoulder limited the 40-year-old reliever's workload after the All-Star break and sidelined him for the final two weeks of the regular season.

When the Braves were eliminated from the National League Division Series last week, Saito said he was unsure whether he would continue to pitch.

Because Saito was working with a one-year contract and hadn't yet compiled six years of Major League service time, his contract stipulated that he would be released at the end of the Braves' season. This provided him an opportunity to not have to wait until the end of the World Series to become a free agent.

The Braves produced a feel-good story when they brought Boscan to the Majors when the rosters expanded in September. The 30-year-old catcher has hit .227 with a .629 OPS in 14 Minor League seasons, 12 of which have been spent in the Braves' organization.

Boscan has long appeared to be positioned for a coaching or instructing role in the Atlanta system. If he chooses to continue playing, there's still a chance the Braves could offer him a job at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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