ROUND ROCK -- Aaron Heilman has spent most of his professional career in the Major Leagues. After a subpar 2011 season, he's trying to get back.
Heilman, who played in the big leagues each of the past eight years, has been in Triple-A Round Rock for all of the 2012 campaign. He's 1-0 with a 3.49 ERA in 27 games, the most Minor League appearances he's made in a season. He was 4-1 with a 6.88 ERA with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011.
"I wouldn't still be pitching if I didn't think I could pitch in the big leagues," Heilman said. "I went through a rough year last year and started to figure things out toward the end. If you're not getting better and you're not having fun, it's time to go home and do something else."
After being released by the D-backs last July, he played with Triple-A teams in the Phillies and Pirates organizations, going 2-0 with a 4.42 ERA. With Round Rock, Heilman has not allowed a run in his last 10 innings and has picked up six saves while posting a 1.40 ERA over his previous 15 games.
"I'm throwing the ball well and getting back on track, throwing the ball the way I know I can," Heilman said. "I'm getting ahead of hitters, being aggressive, putting them in defensive counts. It's always good to feel like you're making progress and headed in the right direction."
A free agent this offseason, Heilman was signed by the Mariners in January and released April 1. Three days later, the Rangers picked up the 33-year-old.
"Baseball moves quickly," Heilman said. "There's always a business side of things. Sometimes things work out unexpectedly. I got released from Seattle and fortunately I got an opportunity with the Rangers."