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Cubs fill gaps in draft
06/08/2004  9:24 PM ET
CHICAGO -- Corey Patterson wouldn't mind if some day he and his younger brother Eric both are playing for the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was pleased with scouting director John Stockstill's picks in the First-Year Player Draft, which included Eric Patterson, a shortstop at Georgia Tech, who was taken 246th overall.

"You ask anybody and they'd want to play with their brother," said Patterson, who did play one year in high school with his brother.

Eric Patterson was recently named MVP of the NCAA Atlantic Regional, and went 7-for-13 (.538) with a home run and four RBIs for Georgia Tech. He also stole two bases, and is one of the Yellowjackets' most prolific base stealers.

This is his third season as a starter for Georgia Tech, and he is the third player in school history to steal at least 40 bases in one season. Stockstill said Eric Patterson is a solid second base prospect and a contact hitter like his older brother.

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"He's his own person," Corey said of Eric. "We do help each other out. He'll be fine."

And Corey said Eric can probably beat him in a foot race since the older brother had knee surgery last July.

"He can go -- he's fun to watch," Corey said.

The Cubs selected Notre Dame pitcher Grant Johnson with their first pick, 66th overall. Hendry is very familiar with Johnson, having followed the right-hander since high school in suburban Burr Ridge.

"We're thrilled to get him," Hendry said Tuesday. "He's got quality ability and he's a quality kid. He's a big Cub guy. He had a great, great freshman year, was the best pitcher on the USA team and then had the setback with the surgery. He's farther along than people thought."

Johnson missed last season because of labrum surgery on his right shoulder, but was 6-0 this year with the Irish.

"He's got a real good slider and he's a tough kid," Hendry said of Johnson. "Obviously, we have a strong relationship with the university and the coach is like a brother to me. You got information that obviously you feel very good about."

"I thought John had a great day (Monday. He got a couple left-handed pitchers, we added some speed, and left-handed hitters with speed."
-- GM Jim Hendry

In the third round of the draft, the Cubs selected catcher Mark Reed of Bonita (Calif.) High School. He is the younger brother of White Sox outfield prospect Jeremy Reed, who batted .373 last year. Both Reeds are left-handed hitters with similar approaches at the plate.

"We've never felt we had a lot of catching prospects, so Reed was a smart pick," Hendry said.

Hendry said he was surprised Reed was still available in the third round, and credited Stockstill with filling some of the gaps in the Cubs system.

"I thought John had a great day (Monday)," Hendry said. "He got a couple left-handed pitchers, we added some speed, and left-handed hitters with speed.

"Not only did he get ability in the draft, but he really addressed some organizational needs," Hendry said. "We took three left-handed hitters in the first eight, nine picks and (Adrian) Ortiz (of Puerto Rico Baseball Academy) is a good runner.

"The kid from Duke (Timothy Layden) and the left-hander from William and Mary (Christopher Shaver) are projected as fast-track bullpen type lefties," Hendry said. "And there's the left-handed hitting catcher in Reed who comes from good bloodlines."

Of the Cubs' selections, they picked 18 right-handed pitchers, eight left-handed pitchers, five catchers, 10 outfielders, two shortstops, two first basemen, one second basemen and three third basemen.

"We have a good system," Hendry said. "We have a pretty good flow coming, assuming health. We have a pretty good rotation base at almost every level. We worked hard to get a lot of left-handed pitchers in the system. We've got a pretty good balance."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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