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Phils pluck Martinez from Nats in Rule 5 Draft

Phils pluck Martinez from Nats in Rule 5 Draft

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Phillies lost Jayson Werth when he signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals.

They struck back Thursday.

"We figured with this Rule 5 Draft, we would get back at the Nationals," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. joked at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort. "They got Werth. We'll take [Michael] Martinez and call it even."

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The Winter Meetings concluded with the Draft, where the Phillies selected Martinez from Triple-A Syracuse, Washington's affiliate. He is a 28-year-old infielder who can play multiple positions. Martinez must open the season on the 25-man roster and remain there the entire 2011 season or be offered back to the Nationals.

The Phillies lost no players in the Draft.

"One thing we see in Martinez is the versatility," Phillies director of professional scouting Mike Ondo said. "We like his versatility, his athleticism, his quickness. He's a guy who has played shortstop and second base. We've seen him play center field."

Martinez, who once played professional basketball in the Dominican Republic, also is a switch-hitter. He hit a combined .272 with 21 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 56 RBIs, 23 stolen bases (caught 12 times), a .312 on-base percentage and a .408 slugging percentage in 522 plate appearances with Double-A Harrisburg and Syracuse.

"With the way we set up right now, this is a guy who can come in and maybe compete to fill a need," Ondo said.

Martinez is not a fast runner, but Ondo said his quickness defensively at all positions is his strength. Losing Werth gives the Phillies a little less depth in center field, so Martinez's ability to play there is a plus.

The Phillies also selected outfielder Chris Frey from Colorado's organization and right-hander Justin Friend from Oakland's organization in the Minor League phase of the Draft. Frey, 27, hit .288 with 20 doubles, four triples, one home run and 25 RBIs in 328 plate appearances with Triple-A Colorado Springs. Friend, 24, went 3-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 36 appearances (one start) with Double-A Midland.

Because Frey and Friend were selected in the Minor League phase, they are Phillies property. The Phillies spent $50,000 to select Martinez and a combined $24,000 to select Frey and Friend.

Todd Zolecki 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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