SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Brewers released reliever Eric Gagne on Sunday and announced the right-hander has decided to rehabilitate his right shoulder injury at a private facility in suburban Phoenix.

Gagne was in Milwaukee's camp on a Minor League contract hoping to win an Opening Day roster spot, but his bid was derailed last week when he developed soreness in his shoulder. An MRI scan revealed damage to the labrum and rotator cuff, and two doctors recommended that Gagne receive a cortisone shot and try rehab before opting for surgery.

One of those doctors, Angels physician Lewis Yocum, will supervise Gagne's progress at Physiotherapy Associates in Tempe, Ariz., a private facility that is popular during the offseason with scores of Major Leaguers.

"Rather than have him rehab at Grand Central Station over there on the Minor League side," said assistant general manager Gord Ash, referring to Milwaukee's complex at Maryvale Baseball Park, "it's probably better that he's in that [private] environment. If and when he's ready to pitch, we'll look at him again."

Ash and general manager Doug Melvin met on Friday with Gagne, who indicated he wanted to pitch three or four more years, preferably for Milwaukee. That meeting came a day after Gagne spoke extensively with Brewers physician William Raasch while viewing images of his MRI on a clubhouse computer.

Raasch's recommendation was the same as Yocum's: rest and rehab. Yocum also suggested tests to determine if there is nerve damage in the shoulder.

After mulling it over, Gagne agreed to that conservative approach.

"He's had a change of heart, because this is not what he was going to do initially," said Ash, indicating that Gagne's first choice was an immediate surgical fix.

Gagne's deal would have paid a $1.5 million base salary had he made the Major League roster. Gagne made $10 million last year, but he was a bust as Milwaukee's closer at the start of the season, then bounced back in the second half as a setup man, posting a 3.52 ERA after the All-Star break.

Gagne inked a Minor League deal with the Brewers two days into Spring Training when he did not find a Major League deal to his liking on the free-agent market. The understanding between Brewers officials and Gagne's agent, Scott Boras, was that it was a big league job or bust for Gagne.

The Brewers do not owe Gagne any termination pay, Ash said.