Cubs see Phillies claim Lahey
Right-hander becomes victim of numbers game in Chicago 'pen
LAS VEGAS -- Cubs reliever Tim Lahey was claimed off waivers by the Phillies on Friday morning, and Lahey flew from Las Vegas to Philadelphia to join his new team.
Lahey was Tampa Bay's No.1 pick in the Rule 5 Draft in December, and the Cubs picked him up from the Rays in a trade the same day. Once he was cut from the Cubs' big league roster, he had to clear waivers before being offered back to his original team, the Twins. If the Phillies don't keep Lahey on their big league roster, they will also have to offer him back to the Twins, pending waivers.
"Good for him," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. "I'm happy for him. I mean it. This is the first year I've been GM that we wouldn't have kept him."
The 26-year-old right-hander fell victim to a deep Cubs bullpen, stocked with healthy righties. He pitched in 11 Cactus League games, all in relief, and posted a 6.55 ERA in 11 innings, walking eight and striking out seven.
Lahey was originally drafted by the Twins as a catcher in 2004 and was converted to a pitcher after his first season of Rookie ball. He posted a 15-6 record and a 3.91 ERA in 123 Minor League games in Minnesota's system.
"This'll get him a spot on the big league roster," manager Lou Piniella said. "We wish him well. He worked hard in Spring Training. We had a lot of scouts watching our team because we had pitching depth. We didn't have any problems injury-wise with out pitching. We had depth. We tell our kids, if you can't make our team, other people are watching. The better you perform, the better your chances."
Hendry emphasized that Lahey had been a welcome addition to the Cubs' Spring Training roster, and was happy to have the problem of too much pitching depth as one of his bigger concerns in March. He wanted Lahey on hand, in case the staff faced a last-minute health issue, but the pitching staff went through Spring Training trouble-free.
"Good job by our scouts to recommend him," Hendry said. "We tried to make it work, but we just didn't have the numbers. I'm surprised he didn't get claimed earlier, by a contender."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.