Runzler signed a minor league contract with the Pirates on Wednesday that includes an invite to spring training, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Stephen Nesbitt reports. The 31-year-old southpaw will have a chance at earning a spot in the Pirates' bullpen as a low-leverage specialist. Of course, the most likely scenario is that he offers depth at Triple-A.
Runzler was released by the Twins on Wednesday, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. Runzler has appeared in 21.2 innings for Triple-A Rochester this season, posting a 5.82 ERA and 1.85 WHIP with 18 strikeouts.
Runzler was placed on the 7-day DL at Triple-A Rochester with a strained right oblique. Runzler had a 3.93 ERA at Triple-A but a troubling 11 walks in 18 innings. He could still get a shot at the majors as a lefty specialist at some point this summer given the turnover in the Minnesota bullpen.
Runzler was assigned to Minnesota's minor league camp. Runzler gave up two runs in nine innings this spring (but just three strikeouts). The Twins don't have a proven lefty setup reliever in the bullpen, so Runzler could get a shot in the majors at some point this summer if he pitches well in Triple-A.
Runzler remains in the mix to win a lefty specialist bullpen role, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. He has a 2.25 ERA in eight innings this spring, but just two strikeouts. "He's come in here and has done a decent job, so it is encouraging," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "He's given us something to think about." Runzler spent 2015 in the Diamondbacks' organization with their Triple-A affiliate, posting a 5.26 ERA and 2.04 WHIP. The 30-year-old hasn't appeared in the majors since 2012, but the Twins are short on left-handed relief options. He's competing with lefty Fernando Abad for a spot in the bullpen after lefty Taylor Rogers was sent to Triple-A.