Rockies draft a Rule 5 lefty

As baseball rumors have it, longtime Colorado Rockies lefty Jeff Francis is returning to the team for an eighth season. Francis is 67-73 with a 4.86 ERA in 205 starts and one relief appearance during eight major league seasons, one with Kansas City. Enlarge photo

Tom Mihalek/Associated Press file photo

As baseball rumors have it, longtime Colorado Rockies lefty Jeff Francis is returning to the team for an eighth season. Francis is 67-73 with a 4.86 ERA in 205 starts and one relief appearance during eight major league seasons, one with Kansas City.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Rockies selected left-handed pitcher Daniel Rosenbaum from the Washington Nationals in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft and will thrust him into competition for a spot on the pitching staff.

Rosenbaum, 25, who spent last year at Double-A Harrisburg (8-10, 3.94 ERA in 26 starts), immediately joined the Rockies’ 40-man roster after being taken with the third overall pick. The Rockies sent $50,000 to the Nationals, and Rosenbaum must remain on the MLB roster for the entire 2013 season. If the Rockies attempt to send him down to the minors, he must be offered back to the Nationals for $25,000.

Rockies senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett said the club long has liked Rosenbaum, a 22nd-round pick out of Xavier in the 2009 first-year player draft.

“Our scouts have really liked him – he throws strikes, and he’s good at getting groundballs,” Geivett said. “He’s definitely a good competitor, a good strike thrower that can change speeds, a guy we’ve had our eye on for a while.

“My question to my scouts was, ‘Can he come in and compete for a job?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ We’re not taking him as some clubs will do – take a Rule 5 player, hold him for a year at the big league level. We’re going to try and see if he can help our Major League club.”

The Rockies also have interest in former Diamondbacks and Tigers reliever Daniel Schlereth as a lefty specialist but are in the early stages of talks. Schlereth, the son of former Denver Broncos’ lineman Mark Schlereth, became a free agent when the Tigers nontendered him.

The Rockies also lost right-hander Coty Woods to the Rangers in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Woods went a combined 4-4 with a 3.20 ERA in 61 relief appearances at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A person familiar with the negotiations said pitcher Jeff Francis is staying with the Colorado Rockies.

The 31-year-old left-hander agreed to a one-year contract, the person said Wednesday.

Francis is 67-73 with a 4.86 ERA in 205 starts and one relief appearance during eight major league seasons – seven with Colorado and one with Kansas City.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Houston Astros traded reliever Wilton Lopez and a player to be named to the Colorado Rockies for right-handers Alex White and Alex Gillingham.

The deal was announced Tuesday night and was the first trade at the winter meetings.

Lopez was 6-3 with 10 saves and a 2.17 ERA in 64 games for the Astros last season. He struck out 54 and walked just eight in 66 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old righty spent the last four seasons inducing groundballs in Houston.

The 24-year-old White split last season with the Rockies and Triple-A Colorado Springs. He was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 23 games for the Rockies, including 20 starts. He was the 15th overall pick in the 2009 draft, taken by Cleveland.

The 23-year-old Gillingham was 6-8 with a 3.66 ERA at Class-A Asheville in his first full pro season.