The Atlanta Braves cleared roster spots for newly acquired relievers Octavio Dotel and Ron Mahay by cutting first baseman Julio Franco and optioning right-handed reliever Jose Ascanio Wednesday.
Franco was the tough decision for manager Bobby Cox. The 48-year-old was signed by the Braves on July 18th after being designated for assignment by the New York Mets.
Franco hit .250 with seven RBIs in 11 games with Atlanta. If Franco is not signed by another team, he could rejoin the Braves in September.
Franco had been a part-time starter. The Braves acquired Mark Teixeira from Texas yesterday to be the full-time first baseman and he is listed as the cleanup hitter in tonight's lineup against Houston.
The Braves cleared a roster spot for Teixeira by sending right-handed reliever Chad Paronto to Triple-A Richmond. Scott Thorman, who had been sharing time with Franco, would have had to clear waivers before accepting a minor league assignment. Thorman is hitting only .220 but has 10 homers.
Mahay, a left-hander, came to Atlanta with Teixeira in yesterday's trade. Dotel, a right-hander, was acquired in a trade that sent starting pitcher Kyle Davies to Kansas City.
Ascanio was optioned to Double-A Mississippi. He was 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA in five games with Atlanta.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)