D-backs Hope Lorin Bolsters Bullpen

PHOENIX—The Diamondbacks struck it rich in the Rule 5 draft last season, and they hope history repeats with the December selection of righthander Brett Lorin from the Pirates.

At 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds, Lorin appears to fit general manager Kevin Towers' exacting specifications, in that he throws strikes and with his size provides an arm angle that would be unique to the staff. Lorin has pitched mostly as a starter since being selected in the fifth round in 2008 by the Mariners, but he is considered more of a bullpen option for Arizona.

"There is upside. He has posted real good numbers," Towers said.

Acquired by the Pirates as part of a 2009 deal that set Ian Snell and Jack Wilson to the Mariners, Lorin went 7-6, 2.84 for high Class A Bradenton in 2011 after. He carries a 3.03 ERA through four minor league seasons, all at high Class A or below, but his peripherals are what caught the attention of the D-backs.

Lorin, 24, has struck out 318 and walked just 91 in 341 innings, a 3.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His best pitch is a changeup that he's been able to locate low in the strike zone, which would be a plus at hitter-friendly Chase Field. Lorin walked 19 batters in 117 innings last season, when he made 17 starts and eight relief appearances. He has allowed fewer than a home run a game in his 76 minor league games. 

"Any time you see guys with a strikeout-to-walk ratio like that, it catches your attention," Towers said. "We think, if not a starter, he could become a long reliever for us. We've got favorable scouting reports on him."

Last year, Arizona landed situational lefthander Joe Paterson in the Rule 5 draft. Paterson was 0-3, 2.91 with a save last year with the Diamondbacks, and he limited lefthanded hitters to a .205 average.

Snake Bites

• Bill "Chief" Gayton served as Padres scouting director when Towers was GM in San Diego, and now he has joined the D-backs as a major league scout. Towers has made bulking up the scouting department one of his priorities.

• The D-backs signed minor league free agent righthander Joe Martinez to a big league deal. He went 8-9, 4.04 for the Indians' Triple-A Columbus affiliate last year but owns a 6.16 ERA in 50 big league innings over the last three seasons.