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Struggling Wickman designated for assignment by Braves

ST. LOUIS -- The Atlanta Braves cut ties with struggling closer Bob Wickman on Friday, designating him for assignment.

The move came a day after Wickman surrendered a game-winning
two-run home run to the Reds' Adam Dunn in the 12th inning of a 9-7
loss. Wickman is 3-3 with a 3.92 ERA and 20 saves in 26 chances.

Manager Bobby Cox did not reveal his new closer, which could be
one of several pitchers. He said Rafael Soriano would probably
serve in the ninth-inning role on Friday night against the St.
Louis Cardinals but that "anybody out there would be a
possibililty."

"We just want to go a different way," Cox said before the
Braves, who had lost three in a row, began a three-game series
against the St. Louis Cardinals. He said Wickman had "not lately"
pitched to expectations.

The Braves also recalled right-handers Jose Ascanio and Joey
Devine from Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Richmond,
respectively. Infielder Martin Prado was optioned to Richmond.

Wickman, 38, saved his 20th game on Aug. 15 against the Giants,
a night after blowing his sixth save. He has eight career 20-save
seasons, including three in a row.

Wickman was 38-for-45 in save opportunities with a 2.88 ERA
since joining the Braves on July 23, 2006.