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Cubs add pitching in advance of Rule 5 deadline

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs signed former New Yankees pitching farmhand Andury Acevedo to a one-year contract on Thursday while claiming lefty reliever Jack Leathersich off waivers from the New York Mets, the team announced on Thursday.

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.

Leathersich, 25, was 0-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 17 games with the Mets before requiring Tommy John surgery at the end of July. At the beginning of the offseason the Cubs set out to acquire depth in their pitching staff both in their rotation and bullpen.

The additions of Acevedo and Leathersich to the 40-man roster come 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 players on the 40-man roster are protected from being drafted but only those with a certain amount of minor league service time are eligible to be selected. Top catching prospect Willson Contreras is likely to be among those added to the 40-man roster which stands at 32 after Thursday’s acquisitions. 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 heas turned into a solid reliever.