Cubs Lose Five in Rule Five

The Cubs lost three players in the major league phase of the annual Rule Five Draft early Thursday morning, but made a splash by selecting former Tampa Bay Devil Rays first-round draft pick Josh Hamilton before dealing him to Cincinnati for cash considerations.

Hamilton was the first overall pick from the 1999 amateur draft. The 25-year-old got off to a promising start to his professional career, batting .347 with Class Low-A Princeton of the Appalachian League in 1999 and .302 the following year in the Class-A South Atlantic League.

But the outfielder was placed on the restricted list in early 2004 after a well-noted battle with drug abuse. He missed all of the 2004 and '05 seasons before being re-instated this past June. Hamilton would then go 13-for-50 in 15 games for Hudson Valley of the Class Low-A New York-Penn League.

Shortly after he was selected on Thursday, the Cubs dealt Hamilton to the Reds for cash considerations, Cubs Farm Director Oneri Fleita confirmed.

All in all, the Cubs lost five players in the draft to opposing clubs. In the major league phase of the draft, pitchers Lincoln Holdzkom and Ed Campusano were drafted by the division rival Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers, respectively. INF Jason Smith, invited to big league camp last month, was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Holdzkom was acquired from the Marlins in the trade that sent right-hander Todd Wellemeyer to Florida this past March. The 24-year-old appeared in 25 games this past season, primarily at Double-A West Tennessee where he was 2-3 with a 1.95 ERA in 32 1/3 innings.

The right-hander also appeared in the Arizona Fall League and was 2-0 with a 7.08 ERA in 20 1/3 innings there. Holdzkom was a seventh-round draft pick by the Marlins in 2001 that underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2003. He missed almost three months this past season with a jammed shoulder.

For his part, the 24-year-old Campusano appeared in 44 games between West Tenn and Class-A Peoria, allowing nine earned runs in 55 1/3 innings for a 1.47 ERA. The left-hander missed a good portion of 2005 due to injury and was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Cubs in 2001.

The 29-year-old Smith spent much of 2006 with the Colorado Rockies, appearing in 49 games and batting .263 with 13 RBIs. He also spent time at Triple-A Colorado Springs, batting .291 in 41 games. Smith was a 23rd-round draft pick by the Cubs in 1996.

In the minor league phase, RHP Andy Shipman and INF/OF Richard Lewis were taken by the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals, respectively.

Shipman came to the Cubs from the Boston Red Sox farm system midway through the 2004 season. The 25-year-old was an all-star at West Tenn in 2005 and spent the majority of 2006 at Triple-A Iowa, where he was 2-3 with a 3.81 ERA in 46 appearances in relief.

Lewis was a first-round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2001 and came to the Cubs in the trade that sent Juan Cruz to Atlanta in the spring of 2004. In his first season with the Cubs, Lewis batted .329 in 99 games at West Tenn and was named the Southern League's Most Valuable Player.

After suffering a fractured leg toward the end of '04 following a promotion to Triple-A, he went on to bat .217 in 87 games at Iowa the following year and .252 in 115 games at West Tenn in 2006.

The Cubs made one addition in the minor league phase of the Rule Five Draft, acquiring right-hander Jim Henderson from the Washington Nationals. The 24-year-old Henderson was a 26th-round pick by the Expos in the 2003 draft. He spent most of 2006 with Class-A Potomac of the Carolina League and was 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 52 innings, mostly as a reliever.

All players selected in the major league phase of the draft must remain on their new club's 25-man roster next season or be offered back to their original club for $25,000. Players selected in the minor league phase are not required to participate at any particular level with their new club.

Updated: 12:25 p.m. CST.

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