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WELLS AT CAREER CROSSROADS AS PADRES PLAN TO SEVER TIES

David Wells is finished with his hometown Padres, and it's possible baseball has seen the last of the boisterous left-hander known as Boomer.

General manager Kevin Towers said Wednesday that the Padres will cut ties with the struggling 44-year-old today to activate All-Star RHP Chris Young from the disabled list.

Towers and manager Bud Black told Wells on Tuesday night he wouldn't make his scheduled start Saturday in Cincinnati. They gave him two options for his departure.

"If he still wants to play, we'll designate him for assignment and see if other clubs have interest, or if he wants to hang them up, he can retire," Towers said. "We're waiting for him to get back to us."

It was the latest of several moves the Padres have made as they try to win their third straight NL West title.

"That was probably the toughest one all year," Black said. "I view him as a contemporary."

Wells' locker at Busch Stadium was cleaned out. Agent Gregg Clifton said Wells was flying to the hunting ranch in Michigan he co-owns with former big-leaguer Kirk Gibson.

Wells, who has lived in the bay area, was 0-3 with a 14.33 ERA in his past four starts, 5-8, 5.54 overall.

JAYS IRATE: Blue Jays third-base coach Brian Butterfield accused the Yankees of making "two terrible slides" into second during the first two games of their series.

Butterfield became upset when talking about Johnny Damon's slide into 2B Aaron Hill on Monday and Shelley Duncan's takeout of SS John McDonald on Tuesday.

"They were both terrible; you can print that," Butterfield said. "Two terrible slides. They're terrible, if they don't agree with that, they're looking through different colored glasses."

Damon, who appeared to clip Hill's leg, didn't agree. "He shouldn't be complaining about that," Damon said. "I was almost safe on that. That's what I had to do. I didn't go at Hill's legs or anything."

METS: RHP Pedro Martinez struggled in his first rehab start for Class A St. Lucie, giving up five runs and six hits in three innings against Lakeland as he attempts to return from offseason shoulder surgery.

REDS: OF Ryan Freel had season-ending surgery on a bone spur and cartilage damage in his right knee.

TWINS: Rookie INF Brian Buscher has a rapidly growing infection in his leg and was flown to Minneapolis, where he may be hospitalized.

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