PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Nationals have received Rule 5 draft pick Jeff Kobernus back from the Tigers, re-stocking their farm system with the highly regarded second baseman.
Kobernus had been trying to make Detroit's Opening Day roster as a utilityman and had received more playing time than almost anyone else in the Tigers' camp. But he hit just .220 (11-for-50) with a .291 on-base percentage and was likely beaten out by outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo (who homered twice against the Nationals this week) for the final spot on the Opening Day bench.
Per Rule 5 draft regulations, the Tigers were required to pass Kobernus through waivers and then give the Nationals the option of re-acquiring him (in exchange for $25,000 of the original $50,000 spent to draft him). General manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters he attempted to work out a trade with counterpart Mike Rizzo, but the Nationals wanted the 24-year-old back in their organization.
A second-round pick in the 2009 draft out of Cal-Berkeley, Kobernus hit .282 with 42 stolen bases in only 82 games last season at Class AA. He'll report to Nationals minor-league camp tomorrow and is expected to open the season back at Harrisburg.
The Nationals are still waiting to learn the fate of their other prospect taken away in December's Rule 5 draft, left-hander Danny Rosenbaum, who is attempting to make the Rockies' Opening Day roster.