Mets Lead Way With Five Minor League Rule 5 Picks





NEW YORK—The Mets made one selection in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. But righthander Carlos Monasterios, taken seventh overall, headed to the Dodgers for cash considerations shortly after the proceedings.

Team officials believe they fared well with players they acquired in the subsequent Triple-A phase.

The Mets added righthander John Lujan from the White Sox, first baseman Marshall Hubbard from the Mariners and lefthander Orlando Lara from the Padres in the Triple-A phase.

The Rangers selected Lujan with a 15th-round pick in 2004 and then traded him to the White Sox in 2007 for catcher Chris Stewart. Last year, he went 3-5, 4.45 with one save in 37 relief appearances for Double-A Birmingham, where he struck out 51 and walked 28 in 59 innings. Lujan throws a 93-95 mph fastball as well as a slider and changeup.

Because of inconsistent command, the 25-year-old Lujan dropped to a low three-quarters arm slot midway through last season to get more sink, though he sacrificed some velocity in the process.

"Lujan's a guy with arm strength who, even though he's in the Triple-A phase, we think he has a chance to be a big leaguer," said Mets baseball operations manager Adam Fisher, who scouts the Southern League.

Hubbard, in his third season with Double-A West Tenn, batted .271/.380/.434. He ranked third in walks (72) and fifth in strikeouts (110) in the Southern League and was selected to its all-star game. The 27-year-old lefthanded hitter has a solid glove and gap power.

"Marshall Hubbard is a strong hitter, putting up quality numbers for the last couple of years," Fisher said. "We think he can help our system at a number of levels. Like Lujan, he can be a big leaguer as well."

The 24-year-old Lara, the Mexican League rookie of the year in 2007, went 5-3, 5.03 in 18 games (seven starts) for Mexico City last season. The 5-foot-10 lefty was 1-2, 4.93 in nine games for Navojoa in the Mexican Pacific League this winter.

METAMORPHOSES

• Outfielder Fernando Martinez returned to action with Escogido in the Dominican League, where he was off to a 6-for-30 (.200) start with one double in nine games. He had surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee on July 15.

• Third baseman Mike Hessman, the minors' active home run leader with 311, agreed to a minor league deal in December. The 31-year-old spent the past five seasons with the Tigers' Triple-A Toledo affiliate.