Arbitrator Rules Hall Released by Braves for Sub-Par Performance

An arbitrator ruled Wednesday that the Atlanta Braves released outfielder Albert Hall because of his poor play, not because he admitted to having a drug problem.

Arbitrator George Nicolau, who heard the case last month, said: "Hall was properly released under (terms of) the uniform players' contract. The club's decision was made in good faith and was not improperly motivated and the commissioner's drug abuse program did not prohibit the club's action."

Hall, 30, admitted to having a drug problem at the start of spring training. He completed a drug rehabilitation program March 22 and was released by the Braves six days later--just before the deadline for releasing a player without having to pay his entire salary.

The Major League Players Assn. filed a grievance, claiming that under the commissioner's policy, players who come forward and admit having drug problems may not be released.

Hall had a .254 batting average, five home runs and 64 stolen bases in eight major league seasons.

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