Earlier in the day, it was announced that Matt Hague would be joining the Pittsburgh Pirates in St Louis to take the place of Starling Marte, who was placed on the Bereavement List. To make room on the 40-man roster for Hague, the Pirates designated right-handed relief pitcher Duke Welker for assignment.
Welker had Tommy John surgery back in early June, so he will be out until sometime next season. He was pitching at Indianapolis this season, making nine appearances before being injured in early May. A month later, he had the surgery to end his season. Because he won’t pitch until mid-season next year, it’s highly unlikely someone picks up Welker, so the Pirates make this roster move without the risk of losing someone.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.