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Cubs sign RHP Andury Acevedo, Rule 5 deadline approaches

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs signed former New York Yankees pitching farmhand Andury Acevedo to a one-year contract on Thursday, the team announced in a press release.

Acevedo, 25, is a righty reliever who made it to Triple-A at the end of last season producing a 2.59 ERA with three saves at three different levels of minor league baseball. He’s 8-8 with a 4.00 ERA in four seasons with the Yankees organization. At the beginning of the offseason the Cubs set out to acquire depth in their pitching staff both in their rotation and bullpen.

Acevedo’s addition to the 40-man roster comes a day before a deadline to add players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft which takes place on Dec. 10 at the winter meetings in Nashville. Any player on the 40-man roster is protected from being drafted, and only those with a certain amount of minor league service time are eligible to be selected. Top catching prospect Willson Contreras, for example, is likely to be among those added to the 40-man roster which stands at 31 after the signing of Acevedo. Contreras is eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

If a player is taken in the draft he can be returned to the Cubs at a later date or else he has to stay on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for the entire 2016 season. Sometimes a rebuilding team will select a prospect knowing he’s not ready for the big leagues but is too talented to pass up. The Cubs grabbed closer Hector Rondon in the Rule 5 draft in 2012 without knowing if he would be healthy enough to be a major league pitcher but he’s turned into a solid reliever.

The winter meetings take place Dec. 7-10 in Nashville.