Cubs select Featherston in Rule 5, flip SS to Angels

Chicago loses McKirahan in Major League phase, Shoulders and Flores in Triple-A round

Cubs select Featherston in Rule 5, flip SS to Angels

SAN DIEGO -- The Cubs selected shortstop Taylor Featherston in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, but they did not keep him long.

Shortly after picking Featherston, 25, off the Rockies' Triple-A roster, the Cubs dealt him to the Angels for cash considerations. The Cubs did the same in December 2006, when they used their pick to take Josh Hamilton off the Devil Rays' roster, and the outfielder was immediately traded to the Reds in a pre-arranged deal.

Players taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft must stay on that team's big league roster the entire season or be offered back to his former team for $25,000.

"We're probably going to have to make some difficult decisions on our roster as we finalize our team," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday. "We're getting to the position where our 40-man is more talented, and you have to weigh those casualties more than we did in the past."

The Cubs did lose a player as the Marlins selected left-handed pitcher Andrew McKirahan. He was 2-4 with a 2.08 ERA in 44 games at Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Tennessee last season, striking out 57 over 65 innings. The lefty was a 21st-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Cubs selected outfielder Ariel Ovando off the Astros' Double-A roster, but he won't be an outfielder for long. The plan is to convert him to a pitcher.

"He's struggled somewhat to hit over the years," Cubs scouting and player development director Jason McLeod said Thursday. "Our scouts really like the arm strength. [Ovando] knows that's the reason we took him, is to convert him and try it out. It's a low-risk, potential high upside, understanding it's a project. The kid is aware of it, and that's our goal going forward."

Ovando, 21, batted .237 last season at Class A Tri-City. The Astros signed him as a 16-year-old for $2.6 million. McLeod said some of the Cubs' international scouts had seen the left-hander at that time and liked him as a pitching prospect then.

The Cubs also lost two players in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft as the Rangers chose first baseman Rock Shoulders and the Astros took catcher Luis Flores. Shoulders, 23, has a career .243 batting average in four seasons, batting .223 last year at Daytona.

Flores, 28, batted .253 last season at Triple-A Iowa and Tennessee, and has a career .213 average in seven Minor League seasons.

Next week, the Cubs will complete two more transactions and finalize the players to be named in two deals. They need to send a player to the Red Sox to complete the July 30 deal in which the Cubs acquired left-handed pitcher Felix Doubront.

The Cubs also will get one more player from the Athletics to complete the July 4 deal. Chicago sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics for Minor Leaguers Billy McKinney and Addison Russell, pitcher Dan Straily, and a player to be named.

The deadline to finalize those deals is Monday.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.