NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Tigers selected lefty Daniel Stumpf from the Royals' farm system in Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft to shore up their bullpen depth.
It's the second Rule 5 selection in as many years for Stumpf, who made the Phillies' bullpen out of Spring Training last year. It's also a potential move for protection in Detroit's bullpen if the Tigers trade Justin Wilson, but general manager Al Avila believes Stumpf could find a role whether Wilson stays or goes.
"We liked him and we felt that he has a chance to make our club as a left-handed reliever," Avila said. "It has nothing to do with Wilson. It's more that we just like Stumpf. It's not bad to have both."
The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to draft eligible players who aren't on their club's 40-man roster, generally after five professional seasons. Teams invest $100,000 to make a selection, who must remain on the Major League roster the entire season or be offered back to their previous club for $50,000.
Stumpf turns 26 years old next month. He hadn't pitched above Double-A ball when the Phillies selected him in last year's Rule 5 Draft, but he found a spot in Philadelphia with his combination of low-90s fastball, slider and changeup.
Stumpf pitched in seven games for the Phillies, allowing six runs on nine hits over five innings with two walks and two strikeouts. He pitched in three games in the season's opening week, facing a single batter in two of them as a lefty specialist, before he was suspended for 80 games on April 14 following a positive test for an anabolic steroid.
Once Stumpf served his suspension, he returned to the Philadelphia bullpen for four games in July before the Phillies sent him back to the Royals. He finished out the season back in the Royals' system at Double-A Arkansas, posting a 2.11 ERA with 14 hits allowed and 26 strikeouts over 21 1/3 innings.
The Tigers also selected two players in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, providing some potential depth at Triple-A Toledo. They selected right-hander Sean Donatello from the Marlins' system along with outfielder Elvis Rubio from the Brewers' organization.
The 26-year-old Donatello posted a 3-1 record with a 3.40 ERA and seven saves in 46 appearances for Double-A Jacksonville. Rubio, a 22-year-old right-handed hitter, batted .223 (102-for-457) with seven home runs and 46 RBIs in 125 games between Class A Wisconsin and Class A Advanced Brevard County.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.