O's Nab Hard Throwing Duran In Minor League Rule 5 Draft

BALTIMORE—The Orioles used the minor league phase of baseball's Rule 5 draft to grab another power arm for their resurgent farm system.

Choosing third, the Orioles selected righthander Jose Duran from the Astros. Duran, 24, is 16-19, 4.08 in 101 career games, including 39 starts. He's a native of the Dominican Republic.

"Duran has a live arm with good movement on his fastball and a good slider," Orioles farm director David Stockstill said. "We've seen him pitch in the Dominican this winter. He's thrown from 90-95 miles an hour and been pretty consistent in the 93-94 range."

Stockstill added that the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Duran is best suited to be a reliever.

"He's a fastball-slider-changeup pitcher," Stockstill said. "His fastball is his best pitch and he has a good slider. His changeup is behind the other pitches."

Dealing with some health issues, Duran went 2-5, 8.06 in 27 games (seven starts) with high Class A Lancaster this year. He allowed 89 hits in 64 innings.

"He had kidney stones and some problems and was on the disabled list for about a month," Stockstill said. "He seems to be 100 percent and has done well in the Dominican this winter.

"He's got an excellent makeup. We have some guys that have known him for a while. One of our guys said he's the kid who, when the workout is over, is still out there working."

Duran was 0-0, 3.38 in nine games this winter in the Dominican League. He'd allowed 12 hits, walked six and struck out 13 in 13 innings with a .235 opponents average.

"If he continues to pitch the way he has this winter, I don't know why he wouldn't battle for a spot at Double-A," Stockstill said. "We'll decide that in the spring."

Bird Seed

• The Orioles used the third pick in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft to select lefthander Ben Snyder from the Giants. But he didn't stay with them for more than a few minutes. The Orioles flipped him to the Rangers as the player to be named in the Kevin Millwood trade.

• The Orioles lost righthander Steve Johnson, who was taken by the Giants with the 23rd pick. Johnson, obtained from the Dodgers last summer along with third baseman Josh Bell in the George Sherrill trade, is the son of former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson. Team officials are hopeful that he'll be offered back for half the $50,000 claim price.