Rule 5 Draft pick will be given shot at bullpen spot

David Rollins, a left-hander in the Astros organization, was selected by Seattle in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft and general manager Jack Zduriencik said the 24-year-old will be given a shot at winning a job in the Mariners bullpen.

Rollins had been selected twice by Seattle in the June Amateur Draft – in the 23rd round in 2009 and 46th round in 2010 – but never signed until being selected by the Blue Jays in the 24th round in 2011 out of San Jacinto Junior College in Texas.

In four Minor League seasons Rollins has posted a 23-16 record with a 3.39 ERA with 343 strikeouts in 358 2/3 innings over 88 games, including 64 starts. He was 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 games (12 starts) with the Astros’ Double-A Corpus Christi club last season.

“He’s got a pretty good fastball, a 94-95 mph arm,” Zduriencik said. “He’s got a breaking ball, he’s got velocity, he’s a tough kid and we have history with him. We’ll give him a chance to come in and see what happens. It’s another strong arm and from the left-hand side.”

The lefty quotient is key as the Mariners are already well stocked with right-handed power arms in their bullpen. Rule 5 Draft picks must spend the entire season on the 25-man roster or be offered back to the club from which they were selected, so Rollins would have to earn a spot in a relief crew that has southpaws Charlie Furbush and Lucas Luetge returning.

The Mariners also claimed lefty reliever Edgar Olmos from the Marlins last month and he’s also on the 40-man roster.

“Our thought was this is a good arm and when you look at our bullpen, we’ve got a lot of good arms,” Zduriencik said. “When you think of the chances of a guy sticking as a Rule 5, your odds of a pitcher sticking are a little better than a position guy and a left-hander increases the odds a little. We’ll see. He’s coming in to a bullpen that’s pretty good, but they’ll go and compete and we’ll see what happens in Spring Training.”

Rollins was the 12th player selected in the Major League phase of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. The Mariners didn’t make any selections in the Minor League portion of the Draft and didn’t lose any players in either phase.

The addition of Rollins puts the Mariners’ 40-man roster at 40 players.

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