MINNEAPOLIS -- Andrew Albers is officially leaving the Twins for Korea.

The Twins unconditionally released the left-hander on Thursday to allow him to sign as a free agent with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization.

Albers, 28, made 10 starts as a rookie last year, posting a 4.05 ERA with 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 60 innings. He was buoyed by a strong start, as he didn't allow a run over his first two starts totaling 17 1/3 innings, but he posted a 5.70 ERA in his other eight outings.

Albers was expected to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring, but was one of several candidates, including Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley, and those three pitchers are out of Minor League options.

The North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada, native joined the Twins organization in 2011 after pitching in the independent Canadian-American League for a season. Albers was drafted by the Padres in the 10th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, but had Tommy John surgery, which led to his release.

He had an impressive season at Triple-A Rochester last year, posting a 2.86 ERA in 22 starts to be named the club's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Albers attended the Diamond Awards and TwinsFest at Target Field last week before the deal became official.