Washington Nationals: Winter League, Rule 5 Updates.

• What Happened While You Were Staring At Twitter All Week: Lost in all the Winter Meetings drama and the blockbuster Jayson Werth signing (which was timed perfectly at the moment everyone arrived in Orlando to let the baseball world know that the Washington Nationals were willing to spend for what they want), was the continued progress of those Nats' players participating in the various winter leagues around the Caribbean. Wednesday night, in his sixth start for the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano's Leones del Escogido, 29-year-old Nats' right-hander Yunesky Maya threw 6.0 scoreless, allowing just 3 hits and 1 walk while recording 7 K's. Maya's now (4-1) with a 0.56 ERA in 6 games and 32.0 IP this Winter, over which he's allowed 17 hits, 2 ER and 7 walks with 33 K's or (9.2 K/9). 

Jesus Flores has played a total of 13 games now for the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional's Navegantes del Magallanes in which the 26-year-old one-time Rule 5 pick* is 17 for 46 (.370) with 4 doubles and last night, his 1st HR of the winter. After Thursday's game, Flores has a .370/.408/.543 slash line. Wilson Ramos, acquired from the Twins last season in return for Nats'-closer-for-a-minute Matt Capps (after nearly two seasons of Washington waiting for Flores to return from shoulder issues), is 35 for 111 (.315) in 28 games this winter. The 23-year-old backstop has hit 8 doubles and 5 HR's so far this winter, with 24 RBI's, 10 walks, 20 K's, a .372 OBP and .523 SLG playing in the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional for the Tigres de Aragua. 

• * = Rule 5ers:

27-year-old infielder/outfielder Michael Martinez, who played his way up to Triple-A Syracuse this year after 5 seasons in the Nats' system, was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft Thursday. Martinez, who was 43 for 159 (.270 AVG) with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR, and 16 RBI's for the Estrellas de Oriente in the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano this Winter, posted a combined .272/.312/.408 slash line with the Double-A Senators and Triple-A Chiefs in 2010, doubling 21 times, launching 11 HR's and stealing 23 bases in 35 attempts. Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. joked yesterday in an article by MLB.com writer Todd Zolecki entitled, "Phils pluck Martinez from Nats in Rule 5 Draft", that the Phils' selection of Martinez, was one of retribution, "We figured with this Rule 5 Draft, we would get back at the Nationals...They got [Jayson] Werth. We'll take [Michael] Martinez and call it even."

The Nats took two right-handed pitchers, Elvin Ramirez (NYM) and Brian Broderick (St.L), in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft yesterday, then picked right-handed pitcher Michael Allen in the Triple-A phase. Ramirez, 23, an undrafted free agent signed by the Mets in '04 was a combined 4-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 52 G and 80.0 IP for Class-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in the Mets' system last season. In 80.0 innings pitched, Ramirez posted a .212 BAA and allowed just two home runs while walking 49 (5.5 BB/9) and striking out 72 (8.1 K/9).

Broderick, 24, an '07 21st Round pick by St. Louis, was a combined (14-7) in 26 games, 24 GS with the Class-A Palm Beach Cardinals and Double-A Springfield Cards in 2010. The 6'6'' right-handed Phoenix, AZ native was (11-2) with 14 walks (1.3 BB/9) and 55 K's (4.9 K/9) in Double-A, and pitched in the AFL this fall. 

Michael Allen, 23, a 6'3'' right-hander, threw 50.2 IP in relief in 2010, splitting time between Class-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain, where the Minnesota Twins' '05 13th Round pick walked 24 (4.3 BB/9) and struck out 49 (8.7 K/9) in his 5th professional season. 

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