LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Put another name in the hopper for the Royals' starting rotation in 2011 -- right-hander Nate Adcock.
Adcock was selected by the Royals in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, the final event of the Winter Meetings. He was taken from the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization and goes on the Royals' 40-man Major League roster.
Under the rules, Adcock must remain on the Royals' 25-man roster next season or be offered back to the Pirates at half the $50,000 purchase price. So clearly Adcock will get a close look in camp, which opens Feb. 14 in Surprise, Ariz.
Adcock, 22, was the only player taken in the Major League phase of the Draft by the Royals, who picked fifth and had just one roster opening. When outfielder Jeff Francoeur is added to the roster, presumably on Monday, a player will have to be dropped.
In the Triple-A phase of the Draft, the Royals selected right-handed pitcher Heath Rollins from Tampa Bay for the Omaha roster. They lost two left-handed pitchers in the Triple-A portion -- Starling De La Rosa to Texas and Rowdy Hardy to Atlanta.
Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo described the 6-foot-5 Adcock as not a power pitcher but possessing a good curveball and good control. Adcock was 11-7 with a 3.38 ERA in 27 games (26 starts) for Bradenton in the Class A Florida State League last season.
Obviously, jumping from Class A to the Majors would be a big challenge, and the Royals view him as primarily a starting pitcher.
"If he doesn't win a job as a starter, he could fit into the bullpen because he throws strikes. But he's not the typical power reliever that you see out of the bullpen," Picollo said.
Adcock was a fifth-round pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Rollins, 25, was a starter in the Rays' organization until last season, when he shifted to relief. In a total of 44 games at the Triple-A and Double-A levels, he was 5-3 with two saves and a 5.27 ERA in 44 games.
"He shot through their system fast. He pitched in Triple-A and was in their big league camp last year. He's another pitchability guy, not overpowering at all," Picollo said. "He's a strike-thrower, throws four pitches."
Hardy was the Royals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2007, when he was 15-5 with a 3.44 ERA for Class A Wilmington. This year, as a soft-tossing reliever for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Hardy was 4-3 with three saves and a 3.44 ERA.
De La Rosa, a 6-foot-5 lefty reliever, pitched for three Rookie and Class A teams this year with a 1-4 record and 5.92 ERA in 22 games.
The Royals feared they might lose speedy outfielder Paulo Orlando or right-handed pitcher Mario Santiago, who were left unprotected for the Rule 5 Draft but were not among the 47 players taken.
"You're relieved, but it's the game you play," Picollo said. "You hope you, I hate to say guess -- but some of it is guesswork -- who you're going to lose or not lose. I'm happy that they're both back."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.