Duke Welker had Tommy John surgery

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Pittsburgh just announced that hard-throwing minor leaguer Duke Welker underwent Tommy John elbow surgery, knocking the 28-year-old right-hander out for the remainder of this season and likely much of next year.

Welker was traded from the Pirates to the Twins for Justin Morneau in August, but then before he ever appeared in a game for Minnesota’s organization he was later traded back to Pittsburgh for minor leaguer Kris Johnson.

There was really no firm explanation given for the odd pair of moves at the time, although considering Welker made nine appearances at Triple-A this season before being shut down presumably a pre-existing injury wasn’t to blame.

Welker made his MLB debut with the Pirates last season and has a 3.32 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 106 innings at Triple-A.

Indians to sign Tyler Clippard

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Jon Heyman reports that the Indians are signing Tyler Clippard to a minor league deal. He’ll make $1.75 million if he makes the big league roster.

Clippard, a 12-year veteran who just turned 34, pitched in 73 games for the Blue Jays last year, posting a 3.67 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 85/23 in 68.2 innings. It was a nice bounce back year for him after he spent 2017 bouncing among three different teams in the course of a below average campaign.

With the departures of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, and the elevation of Brad Hand to the closer’s role, Terry Francona will be looking for all the mid-innings help he can get in the Indians’ pen. Clippard could fit that bill.