The Braves released pitcher Jeff Bennett, who broke a bone in his non-pitching hand while punching a wall near the dugout during a game.
By David O’Brien
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Jeff Bennett has apparently thrown his last pitch — and last punch — as a Brave.
A team spokesman said the Braves granted the reliever’s request to release him from his contract Thursday, making Bennett a free agent.
Bennett broke a bone in his left (non-pitching) hand June 24 when he angrily punched a wall near the dugout between innings of a loss against the New York Yankees. He was placed on the disabled list and had surgery a few days later.
The Braves didn’t announce it at the time, but they suspended his pay beginning June 25. He filed a grievance with the players association and continued his rehab, including two recent minor-league appearances.
When the grievance was heard, the Braves were directed to either “cure the default” by giving him his back pay for the period he was suspended, or allow him to become a free agent. Braves media-relations director Brad Hainje said Bennett requested the team release him from his contract, which they did.
Bennett was 2-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 33 appearances this season, and opponents hit .316 with a .415 on-base percentage against him, including .295 with a .468 OBP with runners in scoring position.
In his last 11 appearances, he went 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA, allowing 12 hits (two homers) and nine walks in 12 innings.
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