Brewers Plan For The Long-Term With Covey

Milwaukee Takes Prep Righthander At No. 14





MILWAUKEE Considering the current state of the Brewers' pitching staff, they might have been tempted to go for a quick fix in the draft.

Instead, they went with the arm they felt would develop into the best big league pitcher when they selected righthander Dylan Covey with the 14th overall pick.

Covey, 18, of Marantha High in Pasadena, Calif., attracted scouts from across the country with a big senior season. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder went 7-1, 0.40 with 138 strikeouts and 20 walks in 71 innings.

Team owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin were in the Brewers' draft room and endorsed the decision of scouting director Bruce Seid and his staff to take the long view with Covey.

"I give the guys credit for not taking the easy way out and maybe going after a college pitcher that might be able to get there quick and pitch in the bullpen," said Melvin, whose pitching staff ranks next-to-last in the National League with a 5.29 ERA.

"College pitchers can get there early but they can leave early, too. You've got to look at it over the long haul. We've always said whatever talent we thought was best, we'd take."

A power pitcher who projects as a No. 2 or 3 starter in the majors, Covey regularly throws his four-seam fastball in the 93-94 mph range and touches 96. He also has a power curveball in the 83-86 mph range that separated him from other prep pitchers.

"He's got a really good curveball, a power curveball," Seid said. "That's what put him over the top for us."

To say the least, Covey was surprised when he heard the Brewers call his name.

"I don't even think I know how to spell Milwaukee," Covey said. "I wasn't really expecting the Brewers."

Asked what he knew about the Brewers, Covey said, "I know they have a slide in the outfield," referring to mascot Bernie Brewer's favorite activity.

Covey has a scholarship to San Diego but sounded more interested in going pro.

"I want to play. I want to sign," he said. "I want to play soon. I'm not sure what the process is like."

Covey said there was an uproar at his crowded home when his name was announced by commissioner Bud Selig.

"The whole house was shaking," Covey said. "Everybody was jumping up and down.

"The whole atmosphere with the draft is pretty crazy. It's been a circus. I'm glad it's over. We'll see what happens."

MICROBREWS

• Righthander Jeremy Jeffress, the Brewers' first-round pick in 2006, had his 100-game suspension expire for a third positive test for a drug of abuse. But Jeffress developed forearm stiffness in extended spring training and was unable to return to duty when eligible.

• Catcher Angel Salome, who spent several weeks on the Triple-A Nashville restricted list while dealing with emotional issues, was assigned to Double-A Huntsville, then dropped down to high Class A Brevard County, where he was assured more at-bats because the DH is used.