NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ruben Tejada cleared waivers Wednesday and is officially a free agent.

In a somewhat surprising move, the Mets placed the infielder on waivers Tuesday.

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Cutting Tejada more than 15 days before Opening Day means the Mets must only pay him $500,000 of the $3 million salary he was due this season.

Tejada became expendable when the team signed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Neil Walker in December. The Mets also still have Wilmer Flores on the roster. Cabrera, however, is in danger of missing the start of the season with a strained patella tendon in his left knee.

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Tejada, 26, has spent the past six seasons with New York. Last year, he batted .261 with three home runs, 28 RBIs and 36 runs scored.

He missed the World Series, however, after he broke his leg on a controversial slide by the Dodgers’ Chase Utley in the NLDS.

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Tejada’s release and Cabrera’s injury could open the door for both Matt Reynolds and Eric Campbell to make the Opening Day roster.