Passing Route

Padres opt out of Rule 5 major league phase





SAN DIEGO—The Padres went rock hunting at last year's Winter Meetings and uncovered a gold nugget in the major league Rule 5 draft in shortstop Everth Cabrera.

Cabrera was buried at low Class A Asheville in the Rockies organization and playing second base when the Padres grabbed him and put him at shortstop, where he surprised everyone with his range, arm and bat while playing 103 big league games.

The Padres were hoping to strike gold again this year, but when their turn at No. 9 came up, the two arms they had targeted were gone. So they passed on the major league phase.

"There just wasn't a player we thought deserved the time and effort it takes to invest in a Rule 5 pick," new Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said.

The Padres were believed to have interest in lefthander Zach Kroenke and righthander Carlos Montasterios, but Kroenke went No. 6 to the Mets and Montasterios was taken No. 7 by Houston.

So with nothing glittering, the Padres passed and made just one selection, taking righthander Hayden Beard from the Mets in the Double-A phase.

Beard is a hard thrower who signed with the Mets in 2005 out of the Major League Baseball Australian Baseball Academy. He went 5-2, 5.34 with a pair of saves in 2006 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and since then he had been pitching professionally in Australia.

The Padres lost a pair of pitchers in the Triple-A phase, with righthander Rolando Valdez and lefthander Orlando Lara going to the Mets.

Valdez, who was signed by the Padres out of Mexico in 2005, went 1-0, 5.01 in 17 appearances in 2009 with Double-A San Antonio last year. Lara, another Mexican, was also signed in 2005. He was 5-3, 5.03 in 18 games while pitching in the Mexican League last season.

FATHER FIGURES

• Ken Bracey, a longtime scout whom former general manager Kevin Towers considered one of his most trusted employees, left the organization to take a job with the Dodgers.

• The Padres released righthander Eulogio De La Cruz so he could play in Japan in 2010. He appeared in three games with the Padres last season, but spent most of the year with Triple-A Portland. The Yakult Swallows of Japan's Central League announced his signing on Dec. 14.