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Notes: Braves release Redman

Notes: Braves release Redman

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ATLANTA -- Despite all of his enormous struggles, Braves manager Bobby Cox had remained optimistic that Mark Redman would eventually turn things around this season. If he eventually does, it will benefit somebody other than Cox.

Before Tuesday night's series opener against the Mets at Turner Field, the Braves announced that they had given Redman his unconditional release. To take his spot on the 25-man roster, they recalled Joey Devine, who will remain with the big-league club until they need to promote a starting pitcher for Saturday's game against the Phillies.

After Redman posted a 10.62 ERA through his first five starts of the season, the Braves placed him on the 15-day disabled list and hoped that an ingrown toenail had indeed been the root of his struggles. The initial plan was to allow him a month to rehab with Triple-A Richmond.

But with health concerns surrounding Anthony Lerew and John Smoltz, the two hurlers they started in Saturday's doubleheader, they opted to cut Redman's rehab short. Then after watching him surrender four hits, including a grand slam and issue two walks while recording just four outs in relief on Saturday, they came to the conclusion that they had to part ways with the 32-year-old veteran.

"The deal was to give him four or five starts down there [at Richmond] to get it together and then come back," Cox said. "But we needed somebody on standby for Lerew and Smoltz in case they couldn't pitch. I thought it was only fair that he be the guy. It just didn't work out."

Cox seemed somewhat distraught after delivering the news to Redman, who saw opponents hit .380 against him in six Major League appearances.

When the Braves signed Redman on March 9, he certainly appeared to be an economically wise option to provide stability to the back end of their starting rotation. At the time, they didn't know how much time Mike Hampton was going to miss with a strained left oblique muscle.

Now with Hampton missing another season because of another elbow surgery and Redman back on the unemployment line, the Braves are in search of a fifth starter. Cox said the most likely candidates to start on Saturday are Trey Hodges and Buddy Carlyle, both of whom are enjoying successful seasons with Richmond.

Devine, who was the club's top selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, has seemingly gained the control he lacked during the first two rocky years of his professional career. In 22 1/3 innings with Double-A Mississippi, he issued eight walks, surrendered 14 hits and allowed four earned runs. Opponents have hit just .187 against him.

Gonzo all smiles: Mike Gonzalez remains as confused as anybody regarding the fact that he suddenly experienced a dip in velocity during last week's appearance against the Nationals. But after experiencing no discomfort while playing catch on Tuesday afternoon at Turner Field, the left-handed reliever is even more confident that he doesn't have any structural problems in his left arm.

"It felt great," Gonzalez said. "I can't explain it."

After a contrast MRI showed no structural problems with his left elbow on Friday, Gonzalez admits he felt some relief. Just three days earlier while pitching against the Nationals, his fastball was topping out around 84 mph, approximately 10 mph slower than normal.

This past weekend, Cox developed a thought that Gonzalez's drop in velocity could have been a product of the fact that he pushes himself with muscle-strengthening exercises on a daily basis.

Gonzalez buys into this theory. Since missing the final month of last season with tendinitis in his left elbow, he has definitely increased his daily workouts.

"I was doing double time with everything that I did," Gonzalez said. "Everything that I could possibly do to strengthen my elbow, I was doing."

Gonzalez is fully confident that he'll be ready to resume pitching when he is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 1.

Jones' 5K day: During Sunday's series finale against the Red Sox, Andruw Jones became just the third player in Atlanta history to strike out five times in a game. The others to do so were Ozzie Virgil (1987) and David Justice (1993).

Celebratory off-day: While Cox was busy celebrating his 66th birthday on Monday, second baseman Kelly Johnson was taking himself off the free-agent market.

After going to dinner at his favorite Atlanta restaurant, Johnson returned home and presented Lauren Thacker with an engagement ring. It's safe to say he was still glowing before taking the field for Tuesday's batting practice.

Coming up: The Braves will continue their three-game series against the Mets on Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. ET. They will send Chuck James (4-3, 4.15) to the mound to face Oliver Perez (5-3, 2.90).

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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