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Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Soler, competing for starting spot, released by Mets

Associated Press

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- The New York Mets released right-hander Alay Soler before their exhibition game Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians.

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New York Mets
Only the top two spots in the Mets' rotation (Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez) are set. With the release of Alay Soler, eight pitchers remain in competition for the final three spots. Listed in order of probability of making Opening Day rotation; stats through Monday's games.
Pitcher Spring ERA Innings
John Maine 0.00 5
Oliver Perez 6.00 9
Mike Pelfrey 0.00 5
Chan Ho Park 7.11 6.1
Aaron Sele 7.04 7.2
Jorge Sosa 3.38 8
Philip Humber 24.00 3
Jason Vargas 0.00 5

Soler defected from Cuba in November 2003 and signed a three-year contract for $2.8 million with the Mets in August 2004. He had a one-year contract for 2007 that would have paid him $826,675 in the majors and $620,000 in the minors and will receive 30 days termination pay: $101,639.

The 27-year-old was an ace for the Cuban national team, going 10-4 with a 2.01 ERA in 18 games in 2003. While in Cuba, he was a teammate of Chicago White Sox right-hander Jose Contreras.

Soler received a standing ovation at Shea Stadium after pitching six innings in his big league debut against the Philadelphia Phillies last May 24, allowing two runs and five hits.

He earned his first win June 5 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, then pitched a two-hit shutout at Arizona against the Diamondbacks on June 10.

Soler was hit hard in subsequent starts and finished 2-3 with a 6.00 ERA before being sent back to the minors in July.

Soler came to camp in competition for the fifth spot in the Mets' starting rotation this spring, but was unimpressive. He yielded two runs in a 9-6 loss to the Washington Nationals on Monday, raising his ERA to 8.22.