Pitcher: I didn't sign to pitch in minors

Updated: June 2, 2004, 12:22 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Rick Helling pitched a four-hit shutout Tuesday night for the Minnesota Twins' Triple-A Rochester farm team, then said he was leaving the organization.

Helling (1-0) struck out two and walked one in the doubleheader opener, an 8-0 win over Toledo.

Manager Phil Roof said Helling returned to Rochester's dugout in the third inning of the second game, shook hands with pitching coach Bobby Cuellar and catcher Joe Mauer and said: "I didn't sign a contract to pitch in the minor leagues."

Helling, 33, was making his first -- and apparently only -- appearance with the Red Wings. He had signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Twins before this season and had a 1-2 record in five starts at Double-A New Britain before being promoted.

Coincidentally, SportsTicker was reporting late Tuesday that Mauer was about to get recalled to the Twins. The heralded rookie was playing with Rochester as a rehab assignment. He has been on the disabled list with torn cartilage in his left knee.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.