Holdzkom Returned to Cubs

The Cubs got back one of the three players they lost in the Major League phase of last year's Rule Five Draft when the Houston Astros returned RHP Lincoln Holdzkom on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Holdzkom had a 1.76 ERA in 46 innings a season ago between three stops on the Cubs' minor league circuit. He struck out 43 and walked 15, spending time on the disabled list with a jammed shoulder.

In the Arizona Fall League last season, Holdzkom appeared in 13 games with a 7.08 ERA. He became the ninth overall player taken in the Rule Five Draft.

"He's a work in progress," said Pat Listach, Holdzkom's manager last season in Double-A and in the Fall League. "He had some injuries early on in his career, but he's finally healthy and he looks like a pretty good prospect."

Holdzkom underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2004 and missed the entire season. He was a seventh-round draft pick by the Florida Marlins in 2001 that was traded to Chicago for RHP Todd Wellemeyer last spring.

The right-hander features a cut-fastball, a two-seam fastball and a slurve pitch in his repertoire. Throughout most of last year, his fastball was clocked in the low to mid 90s.

"Lincoln has a great body and is a real strong guy with a really good arm," Cubs Farm Director Oneri Fleita said last year.

Holdzkom will be assigned to Double-A Tennessee, but this does not necessarily mean that he will begin the minor league season there.

Other Rule Five Alumni

The Cubs also lost players Ed Campusano (LHP) and Jason Smith (INF) in the major league phase of last year's Rule Five draft. Through seven games this spring, Smith was batting .467 (7-for-15) with the Toronto Blue Jays and is likely to land a spot on the Jays' opening day roster.

"Right now, he's got the upper hand," Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi said. "He hasn't done anything to disprove the fact he shouldn't be on the team."

Campusano, meanwhile, has pitched in three games for the Detroit Tigers, allowing one hit and three walks in five innings.

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