Dodgers Lose Three, Take Two in Rule 5 Draft

The Dodgers have become known in recent years for a surplus of good young pitchers, something that other clubs have duly noted and taken advantage of when they dipped into the L.A. system for three of them in the annual Rule 5 draft Thursday.

Lefthanders Luis Gonzalez and Mike Megrew were selected in the major league portion of the process while righthander Brandon Weeden went in the Triple-A phase.

The Dodgers, themselves, meanwhile passed in the major league portion, then took two players in the minor league phase, lefthander Alberto Bastardo from the Orioles and second baseman Eric Rodland from the Tigers

Gonzalez, the second player chosen in the draft, was a key member of Jacksonville's Southern League champions in 2005. A setup man for the most part, he was 7-2, 2.21 for the Suns. He also had seven saves. He was picked by the Rockies who had success in the 2004 draft with righthander Marcos Carvajal from the Dodger system. A native of Puerto Rico who played high school ball in the U.S., Gonzalez was an 11th round pick in the 2001 amateur draft.

He also pitched briefly for Las Vegas this past summer, going 0-1, 9.31.

The Dodgers had been hoping that Megrew would be passed over because of an ineffective 2005 after coming back from elbow surgery but the Marlins went for him in the second round of the major league phase, remembering his strong performances before the injury.

A 21-year-old from Rhode Island, he was 7-6, 3.41 for Vero Beach in 2004 before the operation and was regarded as one of the more promising pitchers in the system.

However, in 2005, he was battered for an 0-2, 20.25 mark in the two games which he managed to get in. Obviously weak, he was then withdrawn from competition and went back into rehab. He was a fifth-round choice in the 2002 June draft.

Both players are subject to the usual rule in that they must be kept by their selecting teams or be offered back to Los Angeles.

That rule does not apply in the minor league portion, though in which Weeden, a 22-year-old from Oklahoma City was the first player selected as the Royals claimed him. He came to L.A. along with Yhency Brazoban and Jeff Weaver for Kevin Brown in December 2003.

At that time, the Dodgers felt they were getting quite a prospect but in his two years in system, he failed to live up to that promise. Pitching for Columbus in 2004, he was 7-9, 5.39. Returned there, he went 2-9, 5.70 in 2005, losing his slot in the rotation in the process.

Bastardo, a native of Venezuela, was 4-1, 4.04 for Bluefield in the Appalachian League this past summer. A hard thrower, he struck out 58 batters in 42 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .244 mark. He spent three years in the Venezuelan Summer League before coming to the U.S. briefly in 2004.

Rodland, from Snohomish, Wash., played collegiately at the University of Georgia and was the Tigers ninth-round pick in 2003. Swinging from the left side, he hit .278-5-28 for Lakeland in the Florida State League in 2005. He broke in by hitting .328 for Oneonta in the NYP League in 2003.

Ben Diggins, the Dodgers first-round draft choice in 2000 before being traded to Milwaukee in 2002, was plucked from the Brewers system by Houston in the minor league process. Diggins, who went along with Shane Nance for Tyler Houston in that trade, pitched briefly for the Brewers, then was dropped back to the minors. He was 0-1, 5.27 for Brevard County in the Florida State League in and around arm problems in 2005.