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CARDINALS PLAN TO LET MULDER GO

The Cardinals said Tuesday they intend to cut ties with often-injured left-hander Mark Mulder, paying a $1.5-million buyout rather than exercising an $11-million option for next season. General manager John Mozeliak added he didn't believe St. Louis would be interested in re-signing Mulder at a lower salary, either.

"There's always that chance," Mozeliak said. "But right now, we're trying to focus on looking for guys who aren't going to be health risks."

Mulder, 31, is rehabbing from two shoulder operations and was limited to 12/3 innings last season after initial forecasts he could join the rotation in May. He made $13-million the past two seasons while totaling six appearances (four starts) covering 122/3 innings.

The Cardinals sent a package that included Dan Haren to the A's for Mulder before the 2005 season. Mulder won 16 games his first year but was 6-10 with only 21 starts the past three. Haren has won at least 14 games each season since and in 2008 went 16-8 with a 3.33 ERA for the Diamondbacks.

Nationals: General manager Jim Bowden recently had surgery to remove a cancerous growth on his forehead, he disclosed. The cancer was discovered in June, but Bowden, 47, waited until after the season to have the operation. "In retrospect, I would advise anybody to get it done as soon as possible," he said, "because that type of cancer can grow extremely fast."

Red Sox: Manager Terry Francona will have back surgery. He said he hasn't had full feeling in his arms since May but expects to be ready for spring training.

Announcer retires: Braves announcer Pete Van Wieren ended a 33-year career with the team. Van Wieren, 64, became a familiar face on TBS, which broadcast Atlanta games to a national audience on Ted Turner's superstation. In recent years, he was phased out of TV work and spent this past season on radio exclusively. Longtime partner Skip Caray died Aug. 3.

Up next:NEW TEAM?

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