NEW YORK—Because the 40-man roster was full and they anticipated needing room to add free agents, the Yankees believed they would lose several players in the Rule 5 draft.
They were right.
Four players were selected in the major league phase and two in the minor league portion.
"Our roster was full and it wasn't like we misjudged the Rule 5 draft,'' farm director Mark Newman said. "Guys like Christian Garcia would have been taken if eligible. As you sign free agents, you need room. You can take people off the existing roster, but you can lose them easier through a waiver claim than you can in the Rule 5 draft because there is a chance you can get them back.
"We knew we were going to get hit. We hope we can get them back.''
A team pays $50,000 to select a player and if that player doesn't remain on the selecting team's 25-man roster, then he has to be placed on waivers and offered back to his original team for $25,000.
Of the six players the Yankees lost, talent evaluators were most intrigued by Ivan Nova, a 21-year-old righthander who hasn't advanced past high Class A. Taken by a rebuilding Padres club, he went 8-13, 4.36 in 26 games (24 starts) for Tampa this past season, striking out 109 and walking 46 in 149 innings.
While he was the last player taken among the four lost in the major league phase of the draft, his ceiling might be the highest. His fastball ranges from 89-93 mph and he pitches at 91.
"He has good arm strength and can spin the ball,'' Newman said of the 6-foot-3, 165-pound Nova, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2004. "We like him and obviously somebody else liked him.''
Also taken were 22-year-old middle infielder Reegie Corona (Mariners), 24-year-old lefty Zach Kroenke (Marlins) and 26-year-old righty Jason Jones (Twins). The trio played in Double-A last season.
Corona batted .274/.345/.365 and stole 24 bases, Jones went 13-7, 3.33 in 25 starts and Kroenke struck out 44 in 42 relief innings, while compiling a 3.09 ERA.
• The two Yankees lost in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft were 22-year-old Rookie-level lefty Andres Santos (Pirates) and 23-year-old short-season righty Josue Selenes (Athletics).
• Director of pro scouting Billy Eppler announced the hiring of scouts Dan Freed, who last worked for the Dodgers, and Tom Wilson, a former Yankees minor league catcher and four-year big league veteran.