It's tough out there for a Rule 5'er

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There were two great stories about Rule 5 draft pics over the weekend.  First comes Tyler Kepner’s profile of Zach Kroenke, a Yankees’ pick from 2005 who has played the Rule 5 game two years running, first being picked by the Marlins last year and now trying to latch on to the Diamondbacks after being left unprotected by New York once again in December. He recalls what happened when the Feesh cut him last spring and he had to go back to Yankees’ minor league camp:

He said his goodbyes to teammates and packed his Marlins duffel bag
for the drive across Florida from Jupiter to Tampa. Kroenke left the
jerseys and pants and warm-up jackets, packed a few other items and
headed on his way.

Not so fast.

“I start walking out and the head clubbie comes running out: ‘Hey,
hey, hold on! You can’t take that bag!’ ” Kroenke said. “He throws down
this black duffel bag and starts pulling stuff out of mine: ‘Sorry, we
got to keep that; sorry, we got to keep that.’ They let me keep a
couple undershirts, and that’s it. It was hilarious. Didn’t get to keep
my hat.”

Baseball is a tough business if you don’t have a safe slot already.

The other one is a Joe Posnanski blog post spending around 2000 words on great moments in Rule 5 pick history. And he doesn’t even get to the fact that Johan Santana and Joakim Soria were Rule 5 pics. He’s saving that for another post. 

Dude can really get a head of steam up when he wants to write about something, can’t he?

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.