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Sunday July 5th, 2015 2:59PM

Despite pitching injuries, Braves release Freddy Garcia

By The Associated Press
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Atlanta has released pitcher Freddy Garcia, who was contending for a spot in the Braves' battered rotation.

The team announced the decision Monday, the deadline for Garcia to be put on the major league roster - which would have meant a $1.25 million guaranteed salary.

The 37-year-old right-hander was let go despite a strong outing Sunday, when he limited the New York Mets to an unearned run and two hits over 5 1-3 innings. He was 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five spring training starts.

With Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy out for the season, and Mike Minor on the disabled list through at least mid-April as he comes back from a sore shoulder, the Braves could be pursuing a trade or a waiver-wire deal. If not, the opening-day rotation will consist of Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, rookie David Hale and non-roster invitee Gus Schlosser.

Ervin Santana, hastily signed late in spring training to a $14.1 million, one-year contract after Medlen and Beachy got hurt, is set to join the rotation the second week of the season after building arm strength.

The team trimmed its active roster to 29 players by optioning left-handed pitcher Ryan Buchter and outfielders Jose Constanza and Joey Terdoslavich to Triple-A Gwinnett, and reassigning infielders Tyler Greene and Tommy La Stella to the International League team. The demotion of Buchter leaves another non-roster pitcher, Ian Thomas, as the second left-hander in the bullpen behind Luis Avilan.

Minor is to make his first appearance of the spring training Saturday in an exhibition at Rome, Ga., against a Braves' minor league squad.
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