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Braves release OF Cabrera, RHP Saito

The Atlanta Braves released outfielder Melky Cabrera in a curious decision Tuesday and also let go of right-hander Takashi Saito.

The 26-year-old Cabrera hit .255 with four homers and 42 RBIs and started in 115 games. He was acquired by Atlanta as part of a five-player trade that sent right-hander Javier Vazquez to the New York Yankees on Dec. 22.

Cabrera made $3.1 million and would have been eligible for salary arbitration. The Braves had until Dec. 2 to offer a 2011 contract and could have traded him before then.

The 40-year-old Saito was 2-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 56 games and made $3.45 million, including $250,000 in performance bonuses. He had one save in two chances and helped to set up closer Billy Wagner before he was slowed by a sore right shoulder the last month of the season.

Saito pitched for 14 seasons for Yokohama of the Japanese Central League before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006. He signed as a free agent with Atlanta on Dec. 3 and his contract specified he would be released within 11 days of the end of the World Series.