Braves release former MVP Howard

Braves release former MVP Howard

ATLANTA -- After taking a chance on the possibility they might eventually want to add Ryan Howard to their bench, the Braves announced Monday they have released the former National League MVP from his Minor League contract.

Howard batted .184 (7-for-38) with one extra-base hit, a homer, in 11 games with Triple-A Gwinnett. The 37-year-old signed a Minor League deal with the Braves on April 6 then spent the next two weeks accelerating the Spring Training-type preparations after going unsigned throughout the offseason and preseason.

When the Braves signed Howard, they made it clear they were simply taking a flier, a no-risk chance, on the former Phillies slugger, whose mobility has steadily decreased as he has battled multiple leg injuries, including the career-altering torn left Achilles' tendon suffered on the final out of the 2011 NL Division Series.

The Braves initially toyed with the possibility of carrying Howard to serve as a designated hitter, as they spend four of their next seven games of this current road trip in American League parks (at Toronto and Houston). But over the past week, it became clear they hadn't seen enough to warrant providing him a roster spot.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.