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12/12/08 8:10 PM EST

James only Brave not to be tendered

Atlanta offers contracts to six players, including Kotchman

ATLANTA -- Chuck James was the only arbitration-eligible player not tendered a contract by the Braves on Friday.

James, who is expected to miss all or most of this season while recovering from left shoulder surgery, now becomes a free agent. The Braves may later choose to offer him a Minor League contract.

The Braves tendered contracts to each of their other arbitration-eligible players -- Kelly Johnson, Matt Diaz, Jeff Francoeur, Mike Gonzalez, Omar Infante and Casey Kotchman.

When James notched 11 wins in each of his first two Major League seasons, it seemed like he might have a bright future. Now that seemingly depends on how the 27-year-old left-handed pitcher rebounds from the surgical procedure he underwent in August.

James' shoulder began bothering him around the All-Star break last year, and he consequently altered his mechanics. There has been a corresponding effect on his statistics.

During his first 39 career starts, he went 19-12 with a 3.73 ERA, surrendering 35 homers in 224 1/3 innings. In his past 16 starts, he's gone 5-7 with a 7.26 ERA and allowed 25 homers in just 74 1/3 innings.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.