LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Phil Stockman's injury-plagued career with the Braves came to a close on Sunday when he was given his unconditional release.

Stockman made just one Grapefruit League appearance this year before being sidelined with a lower back ailment that was causing him to feel discomfort down his entire left leg. The 6-foot-8 right-handed reliever has battled numerous ailments since tearing his left hamstring in 2006.

Last week, Stockman indicated that he felt he's dealing with an ailment that will need to be surgically repaired.

"It's frustrating for me to be hurt," Stockman said March 8. "But it's the same problem. I've been rehabbing it for two years. I've tried everything and done everything the Braves have asked me to do rehab-wise, and it's still there. So there's nothing I can do to get the problem right. So now, I guess it's up to them to go in there and get the problem right."

When healthy, Stockman proved to be an effective pitcher. Last year, the 29-year-old hurler tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings in six appearances with Atlanta and posted a 2.10 ERA in 19 appearances for Triple-A Richmond.

But the fact that he was healthy enough to combine for just 25 appearances provided further indication that his health could prove to be a problem throughout his career. Since undergoing surgery to repair his hamstring in January 2007, he has made a total of 49 appearances, with just six of those coming at the Major League level.

By releasing Stockman, who was out of options, the Braves created an open spot on their 40-man roster. This added flexibility could prove beneficial over the next couple of weeks, when a number of teams are expected to approach Atlanta about its wealth of Major League-ready pitching talent.

"[Stockman's] been hurt a lot," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Every time we've wanted to call somebody up, he was the guy. But he was hurt and couldn't go." A few teams seeking to improve their bullpen have inquired about Buddy Carlyle, who posted a 3.59 ERA in a career-high 45 appearances last year.

The Braves are expected to announce their second round of cuts Monday. But right-handed pitcher James Parr was among those who were already informed on Sunday that they're heading to Minor League camp.

Parr, who is expected to be part of Triple-A Gwinnett's starting rotation, allowed just one earned run in 7 1/3 Grapefruit League innings this year. His best effort came Friday, when he registered four strikeouts in 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Marlins.

"I did all that I could do," Parr said. "There's a lot of talent on this team, and sometimes you have to pay your dues and wait your turn."