Carlos Monasterios, who was exposed by the Phillies, drafted by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft then sold to the Los Angeles Dodgers, is competing with Ramon Ortiz, Russ Ortiz and Eric Stults for the fifth starter spot.
Monasterios, who turns 24 today, was part of the 2006 Bobby Abreu trade and failed to make much of a mark, going 5-6 with a 3.73 ERA primarily as a reliever with Class-A Clearwater last season. Pat Gillick, who personally scouted the Venezuelan right-hander before the Abreu deal went through, liked his size, but his raw tools never developed over his three and a half years in the Phillies' system. The Dodgers are hoping he's flipped the switch and like what they've seen so far. Monasterios, who impressed Venezuelan League scouts this winter, has pitched eight shutout innings, allowing two hits with five strikeouts and two walks. According to the Dodgers' Web site, the only flaw in his game is a pair of errant throws to first base.
"He has a nice presence," Joe Torre told MLB.com. "He's very aggressive. I like what I see."
The competition seems to be down to Stults, who is out of options, and the two Ortizs, both notorious scrubs who've been hanging on for dear life for years. Rule 5 picks must remain in the majors with the selecting club for the entire first season to become the property of that team. Otherwise, the player must clear waivers and be offered back to his original club for a $25,000 fee before he can be sent to the minors by the selecting team. Of course, the Phillies are taking a serious look at their own Rule 5 selection, David Herndon, who struck out a pair in a scoreless frame yesterday. Herndon has allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings and is making a very strong case to head north. In fact, most of the writers are betting on it.
Game chat: Jamie Moyer makes his first official Grapefruit League start today at 1:05. The Phillies were blanked for a second-straight time yesterday, losing to the Tigers 3-0 in Lakeland.