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Rule 5 pick Kahnle aims to impress in camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies selected Tommy Kahnle from the Yankees in this winter's Rule 5 Draft because of the velocity he's capable of bringing with his fastball. The reason he was available, however, was the Yankees could not wait for his control to match his power.

Early in bullpen sessions as the pitchers and catchers work through the first week of preparations, Kahnle, 24, admitted being caught between the extremes.

"The first couple of bullpens, they've noticed that I've been trying to nitpick on the corners, and that's not how I really am," Kahnle said. "I've been trying to do too much. So I take a step back and do what I've been doing -- going after the zone."

Kahnle spent the last two seasons at Double-A Trenton, and last year went 1-3 with a 2.85 ERA and 15 saves in 46 appearances. He struck out 74 in 60 innings, but also walked 45, none intentionally. If he impresses enough in camp, he would most likely be used in middle relief.

Under Rule 5, he must make the 25-man Major League roster and not be optioned to the Minors or designated for assignment. If the Rockies deem him not good enough to make the squad, they must offer him back to the Yankees for $25,000 -- half the price the Rockies paid to make the pick.

For the player, it heightens the importance of Spring Training. To prepare, Kahnle started throwing earlier in hopes of not being affected by the common Spring Training soreness at a time when every pitch counts. He also is letting himself take the opportunity in stride.

"It could be nerve-wracking, but still, it's baseball," Kahnle said. "I've been doing this since I was 5 years old, really. If you think about it, I've been doing it all my life. I'll keep doing what I'm doing, give it my best shot and see if they want what I've got."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.
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