Cubs select RHP Rondon in Rule 5 draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Chicago Cubs selected right-handed pitcher Hector Rondon in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday at the winter meetings.

Rondon has been in the Cleveland Indians organization but has a history of elbow problems.

"If you go back and look he was a really good prospect with the Indians," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday morning. "He's had elbow problems. He's throwing the ball really, really well. He has a great arm and we feel like we can capitalize on the fact that's he's healthy now and throwing the ball well."

The Cubs have been scouting Rondon in Venezuela and by rule he must remain on the Cubs major league roster or be offered back to Cleveland after clearing waivers. He can't just be sent to the minors if he doesn't make the team out of spring training.

"You don't take a guy lightly because it always creates challenges on your 40 man rosters," Hoyer said. "He has a chance to be really good right away. It depends on health."

The Cubs lost four of their own players in the Rule 5 draft including Triple-A right-handed pitcher Starling Peralta and three Double-A prospects: outfielder Michael Burgess, infielder Matt Cerda and right-handed pitcher Alvido Jimenez.

"Frankly, sometimes it's a good sign," Hoyer said. "It means you have enough depth. You can't protect everyone. You never want to lose guys but it's part of what happens. As we get deeper we'll lose more."

With the addition of Rondon, the Cubs' 40-man roster stands at 38 though the final two spots are expected to be filled by Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.