Twins, Pirates swap Kris Johnson for Duke Welker

Otto Greule Jr

Welker returns to the Pirates after six weeks as a Twin.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-acquired right-handed pitcher Duke Welker from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for left-hander Kris Johnson, according to a team announcementYahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan was the first to report that Welker was on the move.

Welker, who was originally drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2007 draft, spent his entire career with the organization before being traded to Minnesota as the player to be named later in the Justin Morneau trade six weeks ago.

He was ranked by Baseball America as the organization's 26th best prospect before last season, and posted a 3-4 record and 3.27 ERA in 48 relief appearances with Triple-A Indianapolis for the season. He made his major league debut in June, and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief over two appearances.

The 27-year old never appeared in game action with the Twins organization, and heads back to the Pirates after a brief stay in Minnesota.

Johnson, 29, also made his major league debut with the Pirates in 2013, allowing seven earned runs over 10.1 innings of work in four appearances. He had a strong season with Indianapolis, earning a 10-4 record and 2.39 ERA in 26 appearances (21 starts), and will provide rotation depth for the Twins next season. Originally a first round pick of the Red Sox in 2006, Johnson signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent two winters ago.

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