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Monday, December 11
Rule 5 draft passes with little fanfare as most teams pass

By Anthony Mormile SportsTicker Baseball Editor

DALLAS (Ticker) -- There were no Roberto Clementes, George Bells or Bobby Bonillas, but Scott Chiasson, Brandon Knight and Endy Chavez will at least get a long look.

Chiasson, Knight and Chavez were among 10 minor leaguers taken in today's Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings. The procedure allows teams to pay $50,000 to select a player not on a team's 40-man roster, provided the player was drafted or signed prior to 1997. Players selected must remain on the major league roster for the entire season or be offered back to his original club for $25,000.

Unlike last year when the selection of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams opened eyes, this year's draft was much more traditional with the emphasis on younger players. Pitcher Julio Santana, who has major league experience, was selected but other former major leaguers like Bill Pulsipher, Paul Spoljaric and Felipe Lira were bypassed.

Chiasson had the distinction of being the first player taken as the Chicago Cubs selected the 23-year-old righthanded pitcher from the Oakland organization. Chiasson spent the 2000 season at Class A Visalia and was 11-4 with a 3.06 ERA.

The Twins picked next and also took a righthanded pitcher, choosing Knight from the New York Yankees' Class AAA affiliate Columbus. The 25-year-old Knight, who was acquired by the Yankees in a deal for outfielder Chad Curtis last year, went 10-12 with a 4.44 ERA for the Clippers in 2000.

After Philadelphia and Tampa Bay passed, Montreal tabbed another righthander, Ted Rose, who went 6-4 with 2.96 ERA while splitting last season between Double-A and Triple-A with the Cincinnati Reds organization.

Texas and Pittsburgh passed before Baltimore took first baseman Jay Gibbons from Toronto's system. The 23-year-old Gibbons hit .321 with 38 doubles, 19 homers and 75 RBI in 132 games at Class AA in 2000.

After Houston passed, Kansas City took outfielder Chavez, who batted .298 with 38 stolen bases in 111 games for the Mets' Class AAA affiliate Norfolk. Milwaukee opted not to use its selection and Detroit took infielder Jermaine Clark from the Seattle Mariners' organization.

The 24-year-old Clark has a career .314 average in four minor league seasons. In 2000, he batted .293 with 38 stolen bases for Class AA New Haven of the Eastern League. The San Diego Padres followed Detroit and took shortstop Donaldo Mendez.

Anaheim was next and took 22-year-old lefthander Rendy Espina, also from the Toronto organization. Espina was 6-1 with three saves and a 2.11 ERA in 53 games at Class AA. The next eight teams passed but the Los Angeles Dodgers took a chance on Jose Nunez, drafting the lefthander out of the Mets' system. The Mets made the final pick of the draft, selecting Santana from the San Francisco Giants' organization. Santana, who was 1-5 with a 5.67 ERA in 36 games for the Montreal Expos in 2000, is 11-21 in 123 major league appearances.

The most famous Rule 5 pick was Clemente, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Dodgers in 1954. Bell, Bonilla, Dave Hollins, Bip Roberts, Geronimo Berroa and Deivi Cruz are other notable picks who have had success.

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