Pirates trade brings back Duke Welker, sends Kris Johnson to Twins

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The Pirates on Tuesday re-acquired right-hander Duke Welker from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for left-hander Kris Johnson.

Welker, a 27-year-old rookie, went to the Twins on Oct. 5 as the player to be named later when the Pirates traded for Justin Morneau on Aug. 31. He appeared in two games for the Pirates this season. In 63 innings at Class AAA Indianapolis, he had a 3.57 ERA in 48 appearances with 65 strikeouts.

The Pirates originally drafted Welker in the second round out of Arkansas in 2007. The 6-foot-7 right-hander throws his fastball, a two-seamer that moves in on right-handers, in the high 90s and a slider in the mid-80s.

Johnson, 29, pitched in four games, starting one, for the Pirates in 2013, including his major league debut. In 26 games, 21 starts, at Indianapolis, Johnson went 10-4 with a 2.39 ERA across 1352/3 innings.

He spent eight seasons in the minor leagues before making his major league debut. On Aug. 18, Johnson entered a 2-2 tie game between the Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks and pitched five scoreless innings before allowing two runs in the 16th inning.

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