The Pirates have released right-handed reliever Johnny Hellweg so he can pursue an opportunity in Japan.
The #Pirates have released Indianapolis reliever Johnny Hellweg so that he can go play in Japan.— Tim Williams (@timwilliamsP2) June 25, 2018
Hellweg, a former top Angels and Brewers prospect, has been pitching well, primarily as a closer, for Indianapolis. He has a 1.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 8.3 K/9.
It’s a common practice with players, like Hellweg, who are on minor league contracts for a team to release the player when a chance elsewhere arises. It’s how the Pirates got Jason Grilli, for instance. Of course, it implicitly shows that the Pirates had no plans to turn to Hellweg as a bullpen option. That’s understandable, considering what an unqualified success the Pirates’ bullpen has been this year.