Rule 5 pick makes Astros roster

April, 3, 2012

Brad Barr/US Presswire
Rhiner Cruz is sticking with the Astros ... at least for now.

Rhiner Cruz, the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft, has made the Opening Day roster of the Houston Astros.

As was the case with Pedro Beato a year ago with the Mets, Cruz will need to go wire to wire at the major league level this season with Houston to become that organization's property. Otherwise, he must be exposed to waivers, then offered back to the Mets if he clears.

Cruz, 25, went a combined 5-3 with a 3.89 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings last season between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton, then really opened eyes during the Dominican winter league.

"It was expected," Sandy Alderson said about the loss of Cruz right after the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 8. "I was in the Dominican Republic late in November. There was a certain amount of buzz about Cruz and we did expect that he probably would be taken. He's got a very good arm, hasn't had great command during his minor league career, probably similar to the selection Washington made last year with Elvin Ramirez. We got Ramirez back. We'll see whether Cruz can stick with Houston, but it wasn't unexpected.

"As a little bit of background, we had more first-time Rule 5 eligible players in our organization than any organization in baseball. Given our roster situation, we just couldn't protect everybody. And in some ways it's an indication of at least the depth of the talent that we have. From that standpoint it's unfortunate but anticipated."
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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