CLEVELAND (AP) _ The Cleveland Indians said Tuesday they will not exercise their $4.8 million option on pitcher Jack McDowell, making him eligible for free agency.

McDowell, who signed a $9.6 million, two-year contract with the Indians after the 1995 season, went 3-3 with a 5.09 ERA in eight appearances in 1997. He missed the last 4 1/2 months of the season after undergoing surgery on his right elbow May 20.

The right-hander started six games and didn't pitch after May 12.

It was just McDowell's second career stint on the disabled list, but his second in two seasons with the Indians.

He gets a $550,000 buyout.