ATLANTA (AP) - In a stunning move, the Atlanta Braves released 305-game winner Tom Glavine on Wednesday, just when it seemed he was ready to return to the big leagues. The 43-year-old Glavine, who was coming back from shoulder and elbow surgery, threw six scoreless innings for Class-A Rome on Tuesday night and proclaimed himself ready to pitch in the majors again.

Instead, the Braves cut him, another move that figures to draw the ire of Atlanta fans after the team failed to re-sign John Smoltz during the offseason.

"We appreciate and respect everything Tom has done for and brought to the Atlanta Braves organization and our fans," general manager Frank Wren said in a statement. "His accomplishments for our club during his Hall of Fame career is a measure of his dedication that we will always respect and admire. We wish him nothing but the very best."

The Braves closed the clubhouse before their game against the Chicago Cubs. When team spokesman Brad Hainje finally poked his head out less than hour before the first pitch, he said Glavine had already left Turner Field after meeting with team officials.

Hainje said manager Bobby Cox and the players would not comment until after the game.

Glavine was the winningest active pitcher in the majors with a record of 305-203. While his agent, Gregg Clifton, did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone, the fact that Atlanta released Glavine would indicate the left-hander still wants to pitch.

The move could be based on financial considerations. Glavine's $3.5 million deal, signed after the start of spring training, included a $1 million bonus when he was placed on the active roster and $1.25 million each for 30 and 90 days on the active roster.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.