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Mariners take pitcher in Rule 5 Draft

Mariners take pitcher in Rule 5 Draft

INDIANAPOLIS -- The news that the Mariners had taken a player named Texeira from the New York Yankees in the Major League portion of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft provided a mild Winter Meetings getaway day chuckle, but Seattle hopes it will end up being a seriously beneficial move for the franchise.

First of all, his name's not Mark, and the spelling of Kanekoa Texeira's last name is slightly different than that of the vaunted Yankees slugger. Plus he's a pitcher with skills the Mariners admire and could potentially play very well in Safeco Field.

"He's got good ground-ball rates and strikeout rates," general manager Jack Zduriencik said of the 23-year-old right-hander, who came to the Yankees along with Nick Swisher in a trade with the White Sox prior to the 2009 season.

"He's an experienced kid who competes. We'll take a shot and give him a chance."

Texeira, a native of Maui, Hawaii, made 41 appearances (six starts) last season with the Yankees' Double-A affiliate in Trenton, N.J., going 9-6 with a 2.84 ERA and two saves. He also made the first six starts of his professional career, going 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA . He joined the Yankees organization prior to the 2009 season in a trade with the White Sox along with Nick Swisher.

Zduriencik has known of Texeira for a while.

The Mariners GM was in the Milwaukee Brewers organization when the club selected Texeira in the 34th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft (916th overall). Texeira didn't sign and went to Saddleback Junior College in California, where White Sox scout Danny Ontiveros saw something in him and invited him to a workout at Santa Ana College. Texeira opened eyes, throwing 88-92 mph. The White Sox took him in the 22nd round of the 2006 Draft, and he's been moving up the ranks since.

Using a three-quarter delivery, Texeira throws a fastball with late life and a slider. While in the Chicago system, he had a 0.93 ERA in 36 outings with Winston-Salem in the Class A Advanced Carolina League before moving up to Double-A Birmingham and posting a 2.01 ERA in 15 games there.

"He'll be with the club in Spring Training and we'll see how he does," Zduriencik said.

With the addition of Texeira, the Mariners' 40-man roster is now at 39 players. Seattle pays $50,000 for the rights to Texeira, who must stay on the big league roster for the entire 2010 season or else be offered back to the Yankees for $25,000.

In the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, the Mariners selected right-handed pitcher Terrence Engles from the Washington Nationals in the Triple-A phase and lost infielder Marshall Hubbard off the Double-A West Tennessee roster when Hubbard was taken by the New York Mets.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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