BALTIMORE -- Sidney Ponson was released Thursday by the Orioles, who voided the pitcher's contract on the theory that his behavior over the past nine months gave them grounds for his dismissal.

Ponson was arrested on Aug. 25 for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was also charged in January with driving under the influence in Florida, a case that has not yet been resolved.

That arrest came less than a month after he spent 11 days in an Aruban jail after he hit a judge during a Christmas Day fight at a beach in his native country. Ponson apologized for the fight and reached a settlement that involved community service and a charitable contribution.

Last week's arrest convinced the Orioles that they had enough of a case to void his contract. The 28-year-old Ponson, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with thumb and calf injuries, still has one season left on a three-year deal that would earn him $10 million in 2006.

In a one-sentence release Thursday, the Orioles announced their plan to end their association with the troubled pitcher.

Every player on the 40-man roster signs a standard Unified Players Contract that includes a morals clause, paragraph 3(a), that reads: "The Player agrees to perform his services hereunder diligently and faithfully, to keep himself in first-class physical condition and to obey the Club's training rules, and pledges himself to the American public and to the Club to conform to high standards of personal conduct, fair play and good sportsmanship."

The Orioles believe Ponson violated that rule, but their bid to terminate his contract will almost certainly meet resistance from the player's union.

Russell Smouse, the Orioles' legal counsel, did not immediately a phone call to his office. Ponson's agent, Barry Praver, did not return a call to his cell phone.

Praver and Ponson have not talked to the media since the pitcher's arrest last week.

Ponson is 7-11, with a 6.21 ERA this season, among the highest in the major leagues. He has not won a game since June 18.