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12/06/07 1:17 PM ET

Rays sell top Rule 5 pick to Cubs

Club loses one, but gains three in Triple-A phase of Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Rays picked first in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, and they selected right-hander Tim Lahey from the Twins organization before selling him to the Cubs for $150,000.

With the second selection of the Draft, the Pirates plucked Evan Meek from the Rays organization.

Pitching for Double-A Montgomery in 2007, the right-handed Meek posted a 4.30 ERA in 49 games, with 69 strikeouts in 67 innings.

"Evan is a talented pitcher that on any given night has devastating stuff," said Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "He gained more consistency late in the year, and he's someone that in an ideal world we would have protected. But with the depth that we have, we made the decision to protect others ahead of him."

Those eligible to be selected in the Draft are players who are not on a team's Major League 40-man roster, were 18 years or younger when they first signed a pro contract and are now in their fourth Rule 5 Draft since they signed. Also eligible are players who were not on a club's 40-man roster when they were 19 or older after they first signed a pro contract and if this is their third Rule 5 Draft.

Clubs pay $50,000 for the player drafted, and if the player does not remain on the team's 25-man active roster for the entire season, the drafting club must attempt to return him to his original team for $25,000.

In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Rays selected Rashad Eldridge (Twins), Julio Puentes (Astros) and Jose Mejias (Mets).

Winter Meetings

Eldridge is a 26-year-old outfielder who hit .291 with seven home runs, 41 RBIs and seven steals in 105 games for Double-A New Britain of the Eastern League.

Puentes, 21, is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander who had a 5-3 record with a 2.25 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 40 innings with eight saves for the Astros' rookie Venezuelan Summer League team.

Mejias, 22, is a 6-foot, 150-pound right-hander who had a 4-5 record with two saves and a 3.20 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings for the Mets' rookie Venezuelan Summer League team.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.