ATLANTA -- The Brett Myers experiment has come to an end.
Prior to Thursday night's series finale against the Braves, the Indians released Myers from his contract after activating him from the 60-day disabled list. The veteran pitcher was signed to serve as the club's third starter this season, but persistent right elbow problems quickly killed that hope.
The Indians attempted to have Myers return as a relief pitcher -- his role last season during stints with the Astros and White Sox -- but it became increasingly clear that there was not going to be a spot in the bullpen. Thursday's release seemed to be the inevitable conclusion to a disappointing season for Myers.
"I called Brett and told him thanks. He tried hard," manager Terry Francona said. "His elbow acted up and there's a lot of wear and tear. He tried hard to come back. He could've gone home at any time and we would've never questioned it, but he kept plugging away."
Francona praised general manager Chris Antonetti for making the decision at this point in the season, allowing Myers to seek a job elsewhere as a free agent prior to Major League rosters expanding to 40 players on Sunday.
"This is where, to me, Chris is one of the best," Francona said. "He gave him a chance to let go now before September, where maybe he can find a spot in the big leagues as opposed to maybe waiting until after teams call people up. I think that shows a lot of class on Chris' part."
Cleveland inked Myers to a one-year, $7 million contract on Jan. 4 and included a team option worth $8 million for the 2014 season. That '14 option could have vested had Myers logged 200 innings, but his right elbow injury in April took that possibility off the table.
In four appearances -- his last on April 19 -- the 33-year-old Myers went 0-3 with an 8.02 ERA. Over 21 1/3 innings, the right-hander allowed 19 earned runs on 29 hits, including 10 home runs, and finished with 12 strikeouts and five walks.
Across seven Minor League games this season, Myers posted a 3.09 ERA in 11 2/3 innings, but he experienced a handful of setbacks along the way.
Myers has gone 97-96 with a 4.25 ERA in 381 games (252 starts) in parts of 12 Major League seasons with the Phillies, Astros, White Sox and Indians.
"He was getting antsy, because he felt like he was getting ready to help us," Francona said. "Because he had such a long layoff, we wanted to see him pitch some more."