The Pirates have given infielder Akinori Iwamura his unconditional release, tweets Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He was designated for assignment along with catcher Erik Kratz earlier this week. Biertempfel says Kratz cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Iwamura, 31, failed to meet even the lowest of expectations after being acquired from the Rays last offseason. He hit just .182/.292/.267 in 193 plate appearances for the big league team in 2010, but was a bit better in Triple-A with a .264/.404/.393 line. This was the second time the Pirates designated Iwamura for assignment this season, certainly not what they expected to do with their highest-paid position player.
Kratz, 30, debuted in the major leagues this summer after a decade in the minors. His minor league numbers suggest he has some pop and patience, but he collected just four singles and two walks in 36 big league plate appearances.