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Los Angeles Dodgers release reliever Brian Wilson, will pay him nearly $10 million salary

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LOS ANGELES — Brian Wilson was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night, three days after the heavily bearded reliever was designated for assignment.

Los Angeles must pay at least the balance of Wilson's $10 million contract for 2015 to part ways with the reliever who revitalized his career with the Dodgers in 2013. Any major league team that signs Wilson will pay the minimum $507,000 salary, with the Dodgers paying the rest.

Wilson is best known for his huge black beard and his role as the closer on the Giants' 2010 World Series championship team. He joined the rival Dodgers after his second elbow ligament-replacement surgery and departure from San Francisco.

Wilson pitched splendidly for Los Angeles down the stretch in 2013, earning his lucrative contract.

But he had a 4.66 ERA in 61 appearances for the Dodgers last season, losing his job as a setup man and blowing four of his five save opportunities. Wilson struggled to hit 90 mph with his fastball and gave up 29 walks in 48 1-3 innings.

Los Angeles didn't use its full 10-day window to explore trades for Wilson after designating him for assignment. The club made the move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for newly signed right-hander Brandon McCarthy.

The Dodgers also announced that catcher Ryan Lavarnway was claimed by the Chicago Cubs after being designated for assignment Dec. 10.

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