ATLANTA (AP) -The Atlanta Braves cleared roster spots for newly acquired relievers Octavio Dotel and Ron Mahay by cutting first baseman Julio Franco and demoting right-handed reliever Jose Ascanio on Wednesday.
Franco was the tough decision for manager Bobby Cox. The 48-year-old Franco was signed by the Braves on July 18 after he was designated for assignment by the New York Mets on July 12.
Franco hit .250 with seven RBIs in 11 games with Atlanta. If Franco is not signed by another team, he could rejoin the Braves in September.
``It's real hard because the guy is doing great; he gave us a spark,'' Cox said.
Franco had been a part-time starter since July 18. The Braves acquired Mark Teixeira from Texas on Tuesday to be the full-time first baseman and he was listed as the cleanup hitter in Wednesday night's lineup against Houston.
The Braves cleared a roster spot for Teixeira on Tuesday by sending right-handed reliever Chad Paronto to Triple-A Richmond.
Scott Thorman, who had been sharing time with Franco, would have had to clear waivers before accepting a minor league assignment. Thorman is hitting only .220 but has 10 homers.
Mahay, a left-hander, came to Atlanta with Teixeira in Tuesday's trade.
Dotel, a right-hander, was acquired in a trade that sent starting pitcher Kyle Davies to Kansas City.
Ascanio was optioned to Double-A Mississippi. He was 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA in five games with Atlanta.
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