Bryan Bullington is headed to Japan after getting his unconditional release from the Kansas City Royals Wednesday.

Bullington will join the Hiroshima Toyo Carp officially on Sunday.

Bullington, a 1999 Madison graduate and former top overall draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates, spent most of the past season with the Royals, the team that had originally drafted him out of high school. The 30-year-old right-hander signed with the organization as a minor-league free agent and went 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA in 13 big-league games after going 8-2 with a 2.82 ERA for Triple-A Omaha in 20 games.

Bullington's lone big-league victory was memorable. He pitched eight shutout innings on Aug. 15 in a 1-0 victory over the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. It remains his only Major League win.

The Royals designated Bullington for assignment last week in order to clear him off the 40-man roster. At the time, it was rumored that Japanese clubs were interested; however, Bullington had to approve any deal.

Pittsburgh selected Bullington with the first overall pick in the 2002 draft. A promising pro career stalled after he missed the 2006 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Bullington bounced from Pittsburgh to Cleveland and Toronto in waiver claims in recent years before signing with the Royals. He is 1-9 and 5.62 in 26 career big-league games over parts of five seasons.

The Royals also sent right-handed pitchers Gaby Hernandez and Victor Marte to Class AAA Omaha on outright assignment after both cleared waivers. The club lost outfielder Jordan Parraz to Boston in a waiver claim.

All four players were designated for assignment last Friday in order to add four players to the 40-man roster who otherwise would be eligible for selection next month in the Rule 5 Draft: pitcher Everett Teaford, first baseman/designated hitter Clint Robinson and outfielders David Lough and Derrick Robinson.