Phils select Blackley in Rule 5 Draft
Former Mariners prospect could become No. 5 starter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Phillies selected left-hander Travis Blackley in the Major League phase of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, potentially finding an inexpensive fifth-starter option.Once a highly touted prospect with the Mariners, Blackley, 25, was dealt to the Giants on April 1 and had a productive season with Triple-A Fresno, going 10-8 with a 4.66 ERA in 28 starts. A native of Cheltenham, Australia, Blackley was on the fast track with the Mariners until left labrum surgery cost him the 2005 season. The Phillies feel that his velocity has sufficiently returned. Mike Arbuckle, the Phils' assistant general manager of scouting and player development, said it was fortunate that Blackley fell to Philadelphia's selection at No. 24.
"He's a guy with a chance to compete for that fifth-starter job, a left-hander who can give you innings," Arbuckle said. "We still think he's on the upswing from [shoulder surgery], and he continues to get better. He has good command, a fringe fastball, good changeup, good breaking ball and a feel for pitching. If he doesn't end up as a fifth starter, his stuff may allow him to pitch out of the middle."With a need for a middle-inning lefty reliever also a priority, Blackley's chances of making the Phillies' 25-man roster appear to be good. Philadelphia took another shot in the Major League phase with Lincoln Holdzcom, a hard-throwing right-hander selected from the Red Sox organization. The 25-year-old, originally a seventh-round Draft pick of the Marlins in 2001, split last season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. He went 5-1 with one save and a 2.97 ERA in 42 games and held opponents to a .231 average. Arbuckle said the issue with him has been command. The Phillies took two players in the Minor League phase of the Draft for inventory -- third baseman Patrick Sellers from Houston and second baseman Luke Appert from Oakland. Philadelphia also lost two players in the Minor League phase, right-hander Scott Mitchinson (Oakland) and right-hander Kenny Fernandez (Florida). In the Rule 5 Draft, teams pay $50,000 to select players who have been left unprotected on 40-man rosters. They must then keep that player on the active big league roster for the entire season or offer him back to the original team for $25,000.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.