Before he really thought of himself as a member of the Minnesota Twins, Duke Welker was back in a Pirates uniform.

At the end of August, the Pirates swapped outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named later to the Twins for first baseman Justin Morneau. The trade was finalized Oct. 5 when Welker was sent to Minnesota.

The regular season was over, so Welker didn't pitch for the Twins. He didn't even meet many people in his new organization.

“I talked to Alex, and I talked to the Twins' general manager (Terry Ryan),” Welker said. “That's about it.”

Forty-four days later, the Twins and Pirates made another trade: Left-hander Kris Johnson went to Minnesota, and Welker returned to Pittsburgh. Both teams' needs had shifted — the Twins were searching for a starting pitcher, and the Pirates wanted bullpen depth.

“This would feel weird if I had actually played in a game for Minnesota,” Welker said last week during minicamp at Pirate City. “It's like I never left.”

Welker heard rumors he was the player to be named later before it was announced, so the move didn't faze him. And he also is not surprised he'll be heading to spring training camp with the Pirates when pitchers and catchers hold the first workout Feb. 13.

“In this business, you just go where you're told,” Welker said with shrug.

The Pirates drafted Welker in the second round in 2007. The hard-throwing righty made his big league debut last year and appeared in two games.