Indians release Brett Myers

ATLANTA -- The Cleveland Indians released pitcher Brett Myers on Thursday, cutting ties with a huge free-agent bust.

The right-hander signed a $7 million, one-year contract in January but battled injuries and departed the Indians without winning a game. He went 0-3 with an 8.02 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance before going on the disabled list April 20 with a strained tendon in his elbow. He didn't pitch again for Cleveland.

The Indians, who began Thursday four games back in the AL wild-card race, announced before facing the Atlanta Braves that Myers had been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and released from his contract, which included an $8 million club option for 2014 the team had no intention of picking up.

He is now a free agent and can sign with any team.

"To his credit, boy, he plugged away," manager Terry Francona said. "He could have shut it down multiple times. He never did. He was getting antsy because he felt like he was getting ready to help us. And because he'd had such a long layoff, we wanted to see him pitch some more."

That wasn't going to happen with the Indians contending for their first playoff appearance since 2007.

So, not wanting to risk losing someone off the 40-man roster if Myers was activated, general manager Chris Antonetti decided to let the pitcher go. The timing gives him a few days to pursue other opportunities before teams are allowed to expand their big league rosters for the final month of the regular season.

"Maybe he can find a spot in the big leagues, as opposed to waiting until after teams call people up," Francona said. "I think that shows a lot of class on Chris' part."

Clearly hurting, Myers struggled mightily during his brief time on the Cleveland staff. He gave up 29 hits -- including 10 homers -- in 21 1/3 innings.

"He could have gone home any time. We would have never questioned it. But he kept plugging," Francona said. "It just wasn't coming out to the point where (there was a spot available). We're going to have some call-ups and if we end up taking some kid off the roster or losing some kid we don't want to lose, that's tricky. I didn't really know how we were going to find the innings to see how he was pitching, you know what I mean? It's kind of hard."

Myers spent the majority of his career as a starter before pitching in relief for Houston and the Chicago White Sox in 2012. He signed with the Indians largely because they offered a chance to start again, penciling him in their rotation behind Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez.

The 33-year-old Myers has reached double digits in wins six times and pitched at least 200 innings three times, most recently in 2011 when he won 14 games. Over a 12-year career, he is 97-96 with 40 saves and a 4.25 ERA.