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Braves release veteran reliever Boyer

MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Blaine Boyer's attempt to make Atlanta's Opening Day roster ended when the Braves released him on Saturday morning. But there's still a chance the veteran reliever will return to the organization to begin the upcoming season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

"I understand I wasn't the right fit here," Boyer said. "It's a numbers game for a lot of these decisions. I was the odd man out. I'm glad they're at least giving me time to catch on with somebody else that needs some bullpen help. I want to thank the Braves from that standpoint."

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Blaine Boyer's attempt to make Atlanta's Opening Day roster ended when the Braves released him on Saturday morning. But there's still a chance the veteran reliever will return to the organization to begin the upcoming season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

"I understand I wasn't the right fit here," Boyer said. "It's a numbers game for a lot of these decisions. I was the odd man out. I'm glad they're at least giving me time to catch on with somebody else that needs some bullpen help. I want to thank the Braves from that standpoint."

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Though he added a little velocity to a fastball that has recently touched 95 mph, and he showed an improved slider over the past couple weeks, Boyer struggled during the early portion of the Grapefruit League season and fell out of the projected bullpen mix as another non-roster invitee went from longshot to an expected member of Atlanta's Opening Day bullpen.

With the possibility a sore right elbow will force Mauricio Cabrera to begin the season on the disabled list, it seemed one of the final bullpen spots would go to either Boyer or Chaz Roe. But even though Roe has struggled throughout a significant portion of the spring, he is out of options, and the Braves don't necessarily want to just give up on him by losing him to a waiver claim.

Boyer will focus his attention on landing a big league job elsewhere. If he is forced to settle for a Minor League role, there is a possibility he'll choose to return to the Braves' organization. This would allow him to live in his family's Cobb County residence while playing for Triple-A Gwinnett.

"I'm 35. I'm not going to pitch in the Minors," Boyer said. "I'm a big league pitcher. I can get outs at the big league level. I've proven that. If the opportunity was the same and the only thing I could get is a Triple-A shot and the opportunity was the same obviously, I'd rather live out of the house."

Boyer made his Major League debut with the Braves in 2005 and remained in the organization until the early portion of the '09 season. He briefly retired in '12, but he returned to the Majors with the Padres in '14, then produced a 3.23 ERA while totaling 131 innings with the Twins and Brewers over the past two seasons.

"In my mind, I was pitching better now than I was either of the past two years," Boyer said. "My fastball has ticked up, my slider has really good depth to it now, and I just feel really, really, really good."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Blaine Boyer