Bucs take SS in Rule 5 draft


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Pirates got a shortstop at the Winter Meetings, after all.

After failing to swing trades for either J.J. Hardy or Jason Bartlett, the Pirates this morning claimed 25-year-old shortstop prospect Josh Rodriguez with the first overall pick of the Rule 5 Draft.

The Cleveland Indians drafted Rodriguez, a former standout at Rice, with one of their two second-round picks in 2006. He hit .297 last season, most of which he spent at Triple-A.

In addition to short, Rodriguez can play second, third and the outfield.

The Pirates must keep Rodriguez on their major league roster all season, or offer him back to the Indians for half of the $50,000 claim fee.

The Pirates had been in talks the past few days, trying to land either Hardy or Bartlett as an upgrade on Ronny Cedeno. However, Bartlett was dealt to the San Diego Padres and the Baltimore Orioles today got Hardy.