Pirates Release Johnny Hellweg, Who is Headed to Japan

The Pittsburgh Pirates released right-handed pitcher Johnny Hellweg so he can sign in Japan. Hellweg has been pitching for Indianapolis this season, where he had a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings over 24 appearances. He had 25 strikeouts, a 1.15 WHIP and 11 saves in 11 chances. The 29-year-old Hellweg pitched in the majors during the 2013 season, but has not made it back since.

Teams will often release veteran pitchers, who have a chance to make more money overseas, if they don’t intend to call them up anytime soon. That looks a lot better for future free agents, who know they won’t be stuck in Triple-A as depth if a much better opportunity comes up elsewhere.

Indianapolis also had some other news. Jackson Williams returned from the disabled list and will man the catcher position, which means Arden Pabst will return to Bradenton. Pabst played one game for Indianapolis and had two hits. They needed a catcher after Jacob Stallings was recalled. Williams wasn’t actually injured, but he wasn’t eligible to return from the DL until today.

Eric Wood will begin a rehab assignment with Morgantown today. He has been out since June 5th with a pinky fracture.

In very minor news, which you knew two days ago if you check the transactions in the Morning Report, infielders Cristopher Perez and Kyle Simmons were released. Both were in the GCL, which just added four infielders as non-drafted free agents. Simmons was one of two players in the system from the Bahamas, while Perez was originally signed to a six-figure bonus in 2014.

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.

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