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Braves lose Diamond to Twins in Rule 5 draft

Scott Diamond was 4-1 after being promoted to Class AAA last season and figured to be a key part of the Gwinnett Braves rotation in 2011.

Instead, he will go to spring training as a member of the Minnesota Twins.

Diamond, 24, wasn’t promoted to Atlanta’s 40-man roster and the Twins took the left-hander from Canada in the Rule 5 draft Thursday. He must make Minnesota’s major league pitching staff or be offered back to the Braves for $25,000 — half of the drafting price.

Diamond was promoted to the G-Braves from Class AA Mississippi in July and had a 3.36 ERA in his 10 starts. He won his first four decisions and pitched a two-hit shutout against Norfolk on Aug. 30, striking out eight and walking one.

Combined between Mississippi and Gwinnett, Diamond was 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA and had 123 strikeouts to 54 walks in 1582⁄3 innings.

Diamond was 15-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 2008 while pitching in Class A for Rome and Myrtle Beach during his first season. He had a 28-20 career record in the Braves organization.

Atlanta did not make a selection in the major league part of the Rule 5 draft, but made two picks in the minor league phase. The Braves took right-handed pitcher Eliecer Cardenas from Minnesota and left-hander Rowdy Hardy from Kansas City.

Hardy, 28, pitched in Class AA last season and will be a candidate for the G-Braves bullpen next season. Cardenas, 22, pitched in Class A last year, also as a reliever.