Cincinnati Reds

Reds rookie Leake named fifth starter

Mike Leake was named the Cincinnati Reds' fifth starter Friday.

Leake was the Reds' first-round pick — eighth overall — out of Arizona State in the June draft and has not pitched in the minor leagues. According to MLB.com, only 20 players have skipped the minor leagues and debuted in the majors since the Amateur Draft began in 1965. The last American pitcher to do so was the Dodgers' Darren Dreifort in 1994.

The 22-year-old Leake beat out Travis Wood, the Reds second pick in 2005, and Cuba defector Aroldis Chapman, who was eliminated from the competition because of soreness in his lower back.

Chapman will start the season in Triple-A Louisville, according to MLB.com.

Other Reds' moves Friday, according to MLB.com:

■ Top prospect Juan Francisco made the team as an infielder. Reliever Logan Ondrusek and infielder Miguel Cairo also made the team.

■ Wood, relievers Jared Burton and Matt Maloney and infielder Drew Sutton were sent to Louisville. Catcher Wilkin Castillo and infielder and Louisville native Chris Burke were also assigned to Louisville.

■ Aaron Miles and Wladimir Balentien did not make the team and could be traded.

Rauch named Twins closer

With four-time All-Star Joe Nathan's season over before it started, the Twins have turned to the tallest pitcher in major-league history to take care of the ninth inning — right-hander Jon Rauch, a Louisville native and former Morehead State pitcher. Manager Ron Gardenhire announced the news Friday. The 6-foot-11 Rauch had 17 saves in a half-season with the Nationals in 2008.

Hart struggles in spring

Bowling Green native Corey Hart's sluggish spring with the Brewers could open the door for Jim Edmonds to start on Opening Day.

Ken Macha must decide between Hart or Edmonds. He said he hasn't made up his mind yet.

"I expect to (start), but I'm not writing the lineup," Hart said. "We'll see what happens."

Hart was hitting .123 in the spring with two homers and five RBI, while the 39-year-old Edmonds had a .273 average, two homers and 12 RBI.

Around the league

Rays: Hank Blalock did not make the Opening Day roster and will try to sign with another major-league team. If Blalock doesn't land a deal, he'll report to the Rays' Triple-A affiliate in Durham.

Royals: Third basemen Alex Gordon and Josh Fields will likely open the season on the disabled list, and switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo has not played since March 25 with irritation in his right side that bothers him when he swings left-handed.

Rangers: Scott Feldman, who in less than a year has gone from long reliever to opening day starter, agreed Friday to a three-year contract worth nearly $14 million.

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