Albers close to leaving Twins to play in Korea

Minnesota nearing deal with Hanwha Eagles, could be finalized by weekend

Albers close to leaving Twins to play in Korea

MINNEAPOLIS -- Andrew Albers is getting closer to leaving the Twins for Korea.

The Twins and the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization are close to finalizing a deal, a Major League source confirmed on Thursday. The buyout could be officially completed by this weekend, according to the source.

Albers, 28, made 10 starts as a rookie last year, posting a 4.05 ERA with 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 60 innings. He was buoyed by a strong start, as he didn't allow a run over his first two starts totaling 17 1/3 innings, but he posted a 5.70 ERA in his other eight outings.

Albers was expected to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring, but was one of several candidates, including Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley, and those three pitchers are out of Minor League options.

The North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada, native joined the Twins organization in 2011 after pitching in the independent Canadian-American League for a season. Albers was drafted by the Padres in the 10th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, but had Tommy John surgery, which led to his release.

He had an impressive season at Triple-A Rochester last year, posting a 2.86 ERA in 22 starts to be named the club's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Albers is expected to be at Target Field on Thursday night for the annual Diamond Awards to receive the honor. He's also scheduled to appear at TwinsFest at Target Field this weekend.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.