19 players taken in Rule 5 draft

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Pirates made infielder Josh Rodriguez the top pick in the Rule 5 draft at the baseball winter meetings Thursday.

The draft is mostly for veteran minor leaguers who were left off their team's 40-man roster.

The 25-year-old Rodriguez hit .297 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs in Triple-A and Double-A for Cleveland.

"We like him as a guy to compete to make our club as a middle-utility player with upside to potentially become an everyday player," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said, according to MLB.com.

In all, 19 players were taken in the major league portion of the draft. The New York Yankees made two picks, including Boston Red Sox pitcher Daniel Turpen.

The Yankees also lost two players in the draft. The Red Sox also lost two players.

Hours after losing out to the Red Sox in the bidding for outfielder Carl Crawford, the Angels lost two hard-throwing young pitchers in the draft. The Yankees took left-handed reliever Robert Fish and the Chicago Cubs picked right-hander Mason Tobin before trading him to the Texas Rangers.

Both players have been clocked throwing 95 mph or higher, but the Angels had reasons for leaving them off their 40-man roster. Fish had an 8.93 ERA at Double-A Arkansas last season. Tobin was a well-regarded prospect until arm injuries cost him nearly two seasons.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Tobin will attempt to make the club as a reliever. If he does, he must stay on the 25-man roster for the 2011 season or be offered back to the Angels.

Daniels described him as a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder with a "live fastball in the mid 90s and a good breaking ball."

Tobin had Tommy John surgery in April 2009 and is trying to come back from that.

"A number of our scouts who have some history with him in the Northwest really like his upside," Daniels said. "He made a good impression with the Angels in big league camp two years ago before he got hurt."

The Mets selected second baseman Brad Emaus from Toronto and right-hander Pedro Beato from Baltimore and lost right-hander Elvin Ramirez to Washington.

Emaus, 24, hit a combined .290 with 15 homers and 75 RBIs between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas last season.

"He's a second baseman/third baseman," GM Sandy Alderson said. "We're very high on his potential as an everyday player out of the Toronto organization. [Former Jays GM] J.P. [Ricciardi], [and new Mets scouts from Toronto] Roy Smith and Jim D'Aloia, Paul [DePodesta] know him pretty well and felt strongly about him. So we're very pleased that he was there."

Beato, 24, hails from Xaverian High School in Brooklyn and was originally drafted by the Mets in the 17th round of the 2005 draft but was a year removed from Tommy John surgery and did not sign. He went in the first round the following year to the Orioles. Beato went 4-0 with a 2.11 in 43 relief appearances for Double-A Bowie last season. Alderson expects him to compete for a bullpen spot.

"Actually, we were surpised that he was available to us in the second round," he said. "A power arm, probably out of the bullpen, and somebody who can compete for an everyday job. So we're happy with that."

Ramirez, 23, spent the bulk of last season at Class A St. Lucie and has walked 163 in 306 2/3 career minor league innings. Still, he has been registering 97 mph in the Dominican winter league and has shown better control.

"He throws hard, has had some command issues in the past, is having a good season so far in the Dominican winter league over 20 innings," Alderson said. "There's always a risk with a Single-A pitcher who doesn't see a lot of higher-level competition but has good stuff. So we'll see where that goes."

A Rule 5 selection costs $50,000 and must remain on the major league roster the entire season in order to become the new team's property. Otherwise, he must clear waivers and then be offered back to his former team for $25,000.

Information from The Associated Press, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon, ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett and ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin was used in this report.