Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gibson can relate to Heilman's situation

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 07/19/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was released in 1992, a month into the season as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"There's no easy way, there's no joy to it," he said. "It stinks."

Which is why it was tough to release reliever Aaron Heilman after Monday night's victory.

"I remember what Aaron did for us last year, as well as the effort he put in this year," Gibson said. "He gave 100 percent effort all the time, it's just one of those deals and the way the game moves sometimes."

Heilman, 32, went 4-1 with a 6.88 ERA (27 earned runs in 35 1/3 innings) with 11 walks and 33 strikeouts in 32 games with the D-backs this season. He joined Arizona last year after one season with the Cubs and six with the Mets, the team that drafted him in 2001.

"I knew exactly how he felt," Gibson said. "But I encouraged him to believe in himself and that maybe there was a better opportunity, maybe it will help his career."

Gibson's 1992 release helped him, as he played three productive seasons in Detroit after that to finish his career.

"I'm sure he'll draw some interest," he said. "He throws the ball fine, he just hasn't had a good year for us."

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