Cubs Snag Parisi In Rule 5 Draft

CHICAGO—The Cubs have a few question marks at the back end of their rotation.

Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells all appear to be givens to be in the rotation when the 2010 season opens. But they are looking for a fifth starter and can't guarantee that Ted Lilly (left shoulder surgery in November) will break camp healthy, so look for general manager Jim Hendry to stock the team with as many arms and starting candidates as he can.

He took the first step Dec. 10 when the Cubs selected 26-year-old righthander Michael Parisi from the Cardinals with the 12th pick in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft.

"He fits in with the mix going into camp," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry told reporters after the draft. "He's capable of starting and pitching in the middle of a game. He gives you some innings."

Tom Gorzelanny, a lefthander whom the Cubs picked up in a trade with the Pirates last year, figures to be the leading candidate for the fifth spot. But Parisi joins lefty Sean Marshall and righthander Jeff Samardzija as those who are trying to unseat Gorzelanny or pick up starts in Lilly's absence if Lilly isn't ready.

Parisi is 40-39, 4.27 in 115 minor league starts—all in the St. Louis organization. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Parisi was a ninth-round pick out of Manhattan College in 2004.

He moved up the ladder and, four years after he was drafted, he made his major league debut. He made 12 major league appearances including two starts in two callups with the Cardinals and had an 8.22 ERA. At Triple-A Memphis, however, he was 8-2, 3.86 but he had to be shut down late in the season and had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

He recovered from the surgery but only was able to squeeze in five starts for the Cardinals' Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team and high Class A Palm Beach. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League for Surprise, where he was 3-2, 4.44 in seven appearances, including six starts.

Members of the Cubs starting staff were impressed with his work in the AFL. Since his injury, he has been mixing in a cutter with his curveball and two-seam fastball.

Last year, the Cubs took righthander David Patton in the Rule 5 draft and, despite having not pitched above the Class A level, he made the parent club and was 3-1, 6.83 in 20 major league relief appearances.


• The Cubs lost righthander Miguel Sierra in the minor league phase of the draft. Sierra, 22, made 15 appearances with short-season Boise and in the Rookie-level Arizona League.

• Righthander Andrew Cashner led Mesa in strikeouts with 19 in the Arizona Fall League. He finished with a 4.58 ERA and five walks in 19 2/3 innings.