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Six Rule 5 Picks Poised To Make The Cut

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Half of last year's major league Rule 5 draft selections stand poised to make Opening Day big league rosters—two of them with the Astros—while four others will begin on the disabled list, another (Brett Lorin) will start in Double-A after his rights were acquired in trade. Only one of the 12 Rule 5 picks (Terry Doyle) has has been returned to his original organization (White Sox).

With the exception of Lorin and Doyle, all the other Rule 5 selections must remain on the drafting club's 25-man active roster (or disabled list) or else be placed on waivers. If they clear waivers, then their original organization can buy them back for half of the $50,000 draft price.

STATUS OF RULE 5 PITCHERS • SPRING PERFORMANCE
No.PLAYERTEAMIPHRHRBBSOERAAVGWHIP
1Rhiner Cruz, rhpAstros9.1108110106.75.2862.14
2Terry Doyle, rhpTwinsReturned to White Sox, March 21
3Lucas Luetge, lhpMariners6.24211102.70.1600.75
5@Cesar Cabral, lhpYankees11.112312121.59.2611.24
6Lendy Castillo, rhpCubs13126010113.46.2401.69
8*Robert Fish, lhpBraves3520126.00.3572.00
11+Brett Lorin, rhpDiamondbacks9631173.00.1940.78
12**Brad Meyers, rhpYankeesShoulder injury—Did not pitched
@15-day disabled list (left elbow fracture).
*15-day disabled list (left elbow tendinitis).
+Retained by Arizona in trade, then outrighted to Double-A.
**15-day disabled list (right labrum strain).

• Righty reliever Rhiner Cruz walked six batters per nine innings last season for the Double-A Binghamton Mets and then walked another 10 batters in 17 Dominican League innings. After a wild spring training from Cruz, Astros manager Brad Mills caustically told correspondent Zachary Levine, “At the major league level, you’ve got to be able to throw the ball where you want to throw it. Look at what happens when you’re not throwing strikes.” Cruz struck out 51 in 59 innings with a 1.40 WHIP in Double-A last year.

• Seatte has Lucas Luetge lined up as a second lefty reliever alongside George Sherrill. "We've seen a very good breaking ball, not only left-on-left breaking ball, but his breaking ball is effective to righties as well," Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis told the Seattle Times. "He's commanding the ball I think beyond our expectations when you look at him coming from Double-A into a major league camp." Leutge stymied lefty batters with the Brewers' Double-A Huntsville affiliate last year, holding them to 18 hits in 103 at-bats (.175) with 32 strikeouts, six walks and just three doubles.

• Righthander Lendy Castillo began pitching in 2010 and finished last season in the low Class A South Atlantic League, but with the Cubs positioned to take chances on young players, the 22-year-old very well could make the team. "Castillo's been throwing great. He acts like he's been out there before, with his poise and how far he's come in the last month," Cubs manager Dale Sveum told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He's got a fastball that doesn't seem to get squared up too much."

Sveum qualified his remarks on the eve of Opening Day, telling CSN Chicago, "The velocity isn’t quite what it was earlier in camp, but (Castillo's) been pitching a lot more than he probably ever has, too. That’s one thing we had to eyeball. He had to get built up if he’s going to be in that role (to) where he can pitch three innings, get to 50, 60 pitches once in awhile. He doesn’t (have) the biggest frame in the world to put a workload on him, but he’s got to get used to it.”

STATUS OF RULE 5 POSITION PLAYERS • SPRING PERFORMANCE
No.PLAYERTEAMABHHRXBHBB-SOSB-CSAVGOBPSLG
4Ryan Flaherty, 2b/3bOrioles5613153-111-2.232.283.393
7**Gustavo Nunez, ss/2bPiratesAnkle injury—Did not played
9Erik Komatsu, ofCardinals5415045-66-1.278.333.389
10Marwin Gonzalez, ss/2bAstros448027-100-1.182.288.250
**60-day disabled list (right ankle injury).

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Ichiro's retirement, Mike Trout's extension and roster battles coming down to the wire. Come chat about all of that and more with Kyle Glaser at 1:30 pm ET today.

• "Coming up and growing up in Maine, I think you're always having to (deal with) doubt(ing) people," Ryan Flaherty told the Baltimore Sun. "People say, 'Oh you aren't going to make it.' So you have to play with your chip on your shoulder." Flaherty, who attended high school in Portland, Maine, before heading to Vanderbilt, will provide a lefty-hitting complement to Robert Andino at second base and provide support for the Orioles' amalgamation of third basemen that includes Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis and Wilson Betemit. Flaherty batted .305/.384/.523 with 14 homers in 302 at-bats for the Cubs' Double-A Tennessee club last year, though he stumbled at Triple-A, putting up a .676 OPS in 49 games.

• The Cardinals placed Allen Craig on the disabled list, paving the way for Erik Komatsu to make the club as a reserve outfielder. St. Louis last carried a Rule 5 pick in 2008, when it kept another reserve outfielder, Brian Barton, for the entire season. Komatsu stole a team-high six bases this spring, and told MLB.com that speed is "a big part of my game, and I wanted to showcase that. With me being a guy who's on base a lot, my job is to get to second any way I can." The Brewers dealt Komatsu to the Nationals for Jerry Hairston Jr. at the trade deadline last year, and he batted .277/.367/.382 with 64 walks and 66 strikeouts in 448 at-bats for a pair of Double-A clubs.

• A thumb injury suffered by Jed Lowrie opened the door for Marwin Gonzalez to make the Astros' Opening Day roster. “Marwin has done a great job defensively. He’s shown that he’s capable of taking major league at-bats," Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told correspondent Zachary Levine. "He’s a valuable asset for us, and we like to have a guy like that in the organization. To do that, we have to keep him on the 25." A switch-hitter, Gonzalez batted .288/.343/.400 in 413 at-bats (with a 33-48 walk-strikeout ratio) between the Cubs' Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa affiliates last year.

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