MLB draft rounds 4-5: Mariners add a hard-hitter in Kivlehan

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Notes from rounds four and five:

– Third baseman Patrick Kivlehan got picked 131st by the Mariners despite spending just one year on the diamond at Rutgers after four years as a reserve defensive back and special teams player on the football team. He was far and away the Scarlet Knights’ best hitter, coming in at .392/.480/.693 with 14 homers in 189 at-bats.

– The one remaining player from Baseball America’s pre-draft top 40, high school right-hander Ty Buttrey, went to the Red Sox at pick No. 151. Buttrey skyrocketed up draft boards when he was flashing a mid-90s fastball early on this season, but his velocity dipped some as the year went on and his stock went with it. He’s still a very intriguing prospect, and the Red Sox might be able to spare the money to sign him away from Arkansas after focusing primarily on college players with their early picks.

– The Royals took Stanford shortstop Kenny Diekroeger with the 133rd pick. He was the Rays’ second-rounder in 2009, but he passed on their offer then. He’s due for less money now. Diekroeger’s stock peaked after a strong freshman season in which he hit .356/.391/.491. In two seasons since, he’s come it at .293/.356/.364 and .269/.335/.370. Also, he’s likely to move to second base in the pros.

– Coastal Carolina right-hander Josh Conway was taken 134th overall by the Cubs even though he just underwent Tommy John surgery that figures to sideline him into the 2013 season. He was viewed as a likely second-rounder before getting hurt.

– The Angels picked an offensive-minded second baseman in Ole Miss product Alex Yarbrough 147th overall. He hit .380/.437/.508 with a 24/22 K/BB ratio in 250 at-bats this season. His future could be at third base if the Angels think he has the arm. Otherwise, he could end up in left field.

– I haven’t really mentioned the Mets yet, but they are having a nice draft. Their top two picks, shortstop Gavin Cecchini at No. 12 and catcher Kevin Plawecki at No. 35, are both very well-regarded. Reliever Matt Koch was a great get in round three, and fellow righty Brandon Welch looks like another smart pick in round five. A juco product with a strong fastball-slider combination, he’d also make for a pretty intriguing reliever if the Mets opt to go in that direction.

– The name is a lie: Nationals fifth-round pick Spencer Kieboom is a catcher who slugged .343 in three seasons at Clemson.

– The name is a lie — part two: Brewers fifth-rounder Damien Magnifico had a 4.01 ERA and a 27/20 K/BB ratio in 42 2/3 innings for the University of Oklahoma this year.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.