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Former Philllies slugger Ryan Howard released by Braves

The career of the former Phillies slugger might be over.

The end for Ryan Howard, it appears, was Saturday. He stumbled to an 0-for-4 night and two strikeouts while in Charlotte for an International League game. On Monday, the former Phillies slugger was released from his minor-league deal by Atlanta.

His career could be over.

The Braves signed Howard with the goal of having him serve as a designated hitter in interleague play and a lefthanded power bat from the bench. But he batted .184 (7 for 38) with a .238 on-base percentage and .263 slugging percentage in 11 games with the triple-A Gwinnett Braves. He struck out 11 times and walked twice.

Two weeks of meager production at triple A were enough evidence for Atlanta that Howard could not help them.

Howard, 37, is now a free agent. He went unsigned last winter and settled for the minor-league deal with the rebuilding Braves, who were willing to take a minimal risk for a big-name player.

In 13 seasons with the Phillies, Howard bashed 382 home runs, the second-most in club history.