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updated: 12/12/2013 4:11 PM

Cubs swap outfielders with Marlins

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  • Miami traded right-handed hitting outfielder Justin Ruggiano, above, to the Cubs for left-handed hitter Brian Bogusevic.

      Miami traded right-handed hitting outfielder Justin Ruggiano, above, to the Cubs for left-handed hitter Brian Bogusevic.
    Associated Press

 
 

Cubs president Theo Epstein didn't promise any big splashes at the winter meetings this week.

On Thursday, Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer delivered what might be considered a ripple with a swap of outfielders.

The Cubs obtained right-handed hitting outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Miami Marlins in exchange for Chicago-area native Brian Bogusevic, a left-handed batter.

Despite a hitting line of .222/.298/.396 last season for the Marlins, the 31-year-old Ruggiano provides some intrigue. He hit 18 homers for Miami, 15 coming away from home.

"We didn't have that veteran right-handed bat who can platoon and hit lefties," Hoyer told reporters on the final day of the winter meetings in Orlando, Fla. "We like Bogusevic a lot but feel it's a better fit for our roster to get a guy who hits left-handed pitching well. He (Ruggiano) can platoon with one of several guys we have and play all three outfield positions. Sometimes it is about fit. Brian did a really good job for us. Ruggiano fits our roster better, and we're excited to work out a deal for him."

Bogusevic, who turns 30 in February, put up a line of .273/.323/.462 with 6 homers in 47 games for the Cubs last season.

The trade leaves the Cubs with Ruggiano and Junior Lake as their right-handed hitting outfielders and Nate Schierholtz and Ryan Sweeney to hit from the left side. Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson are making last-ditch attempts in the minor leagues to salvage their careers.

Lake, 23, came up after the all-star break and provided the Cubs with a spark of excitement. In 64 games, Lake hit 6 homers with a line of .284/.332/.428.

"Junior Lake's going to get a ton of playing time," Hoyer said in Orlando. "We have opportunity, (and) a player like that needs to be out there getting at-bats and developing. So I don't really see (the trade) affecting Junior. I just think we didn't have that kind of veteran right-handed bat that can platoon and hit lefties.

"The only way Junior's going to get better is by playing. We're excited about the winter that Junior's had. It seems like he's really built on a strong season."

Oh, that Cutler:

The Cubs did not make a selection in the major-league portion of the Rule 5 draft Thursday. They forfeited their first-round selection to the Phillies to settle a complaint by the Phillies over the Cubs' handling of Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo in 2012. The Cubs stashed Castillo on the disabled list for much of that season after taking him from the Phillies.

In the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5, the Cubs took catcher Charles Cutler from the Pirates' Class AA affiliate.

Cutler, 27, batted .298 in 86 games at Altoona this year, with 16 doubles and 3 home runs.

"He was a guy we targeted," Hoyer told reporters. "We're always looking for catching. He's a left-handed-hitting catcher with some on-base skills."

The Cubs lost four players in various stages of the Rule 5: pitcher Marcos Mateo, first baseman Justin Bour, outfielder Julio Borbon and pitcher A.J. Morris.

• Follow Bruce on Twitter @BruceMiles2112.

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