Mar 5, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Pittsburg Pirates pitcher Duke Welker (53) throws a pitch during the spring training exhibition game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates release former top prospect Duke Welker

According to the transactions page, former highly-touted prospect Duke Welker has been released by the Pittsburgh Pirates in a move that cleared a 40-man roster spot for infielder Matt Hague.

MLB Trade Rumors talked about Welker’s recent history after he was designated for assignment on July 9.

Welker, 28, underwent Tommy John surgery last month after allowing six runs in 11 innings of work at the Triple-A level this season. After seeing his prospect star fade as a starter in the Pirates’ minor league system, Welker shifted to the bullpen full-time in 2010 and began to experience success. Baseball America ranked him as Pittsburgh’s No. 26 prospect heading into the 2013 season, and he went on to post a 3.57 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 63 innings of work.

Hague, a 28-year-old infielder, made his big league debut back in 2012, when he hit .229/.270/.257 in 74 plate appearances spanning 30 games with the Pirates. He drove in just seven runs and has appeared in a pair of games for Pittsburgh this season, as well. With Triple-A Indianapolis this year, Hague seems to have rediscovered his power stroke, hitting 13 home runs and driving in 59 in 80 games. His slash line of .293./.367/.426 with Indianapolis is noticeably improved from his brief stint with the big league club.

The corner infielder was an 11th-round selection of the Cleveland Indians back in the 2007 Major League Baseball draft.


Tags: MLB Pittsburgh Pirates

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