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The Cubs have sent RHP Lendy Castillo outright to AAA Iowa. Castillo was Designated for Assignment on January 26th when RHP Carlos Villanueva (MLB Article XX-B free-agent signed by the Cubs last month) was added to the 40-man roster.

The regular seasons for the Latin Winter Leagues in Venezuela (VWL), Mexico (LMP), Puerto Rico (PWL), and the Dominican Republic (DWL) close this weekend, and the playoffs will start next month. Then the four league champions will meet in the Caribbean Series in Hermosillo, Mexico, the first week of February (just prior to the start of MLB Spring Training).


About 30 Cubs (both major leaguers and minor leaguers) are playing winter ball in Latin America, and the following are seven of the better performances:


LHP Jeff Beliveau was Designated for Assignment yesterday, and 3B Ian Stewart has been officially added to the 40-man roster, so now the Cubs just need to clear one more slot for free-agent OF Nate Schierholtz.


Although it might sound strange, the Cubs could outright Stewart to the minors (but with an NRI to Spring Training) to make room for Schierholtz on the 40, just like when they outrighted Manny Corpas to the minors last off-season in January just a month after he signed a major league contract and was added to the 40-man roster in December.


The 2012 MLB Rule 5 Selection Meeting (AKA "Rule 5 Draft") will be held tomorrow morning in Nashville.

The Arizona Fall League Championship Game will be played tomorrow at Scottsdale Stadium, with the Salt River Rafters (East Division Champs) facing the West Division Champion Peoria Javelinas.

Unfortunately, the Cubs players who went to the AFL were assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox, the worst team in the league.

21 Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents (the so called "six-year minor league free-agents" and the so-called "second-contract minor league free-agents") were declared free-agents by MLB at 5 PM last Friday, while three others who could have been Rule 55 free-agents agreed to 2013 minor league "successor contracts" and thus will be returning to the Cubs organization next season.


However, the three who are returning will be eligible for selection in next month's MLB Rule 5 Draft (as will any other minor league free-agent signed prior to the Rule 5 Draft).


The 21 Cubs who were declared Rule 55 minor league free-agents join six others who elected to be minor league free-agents per Article XX-D of the CBA over the past month.


By outrighting eight players and losing two more off waivers over the past couple of days, the Cubs are beginning to clear some space on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).

The Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 33 players, but three more players (RHP Matt Garza, 3B Ian Stewart, and RHP Arodys Vizcaino) are still on the 60-day Disabled List and they will need to be reinstated no later than the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series. So the Cubs essentially have a 36-man MLB Reserve List right now.

Catcher Anthony Recker (Designated for Assignment yesterday to make room on the 40-man roster for RHP Carlos Gutierrez after Gutierrez was claimed off waivers from Minnesota) was claimed off waivers today by the New York Mets, and the Cubs have sent RHP Jason Berken (claimed off waivers from Baltimore in September), 2B Adrian Cardenas (claimed off waivers from Oakland last February), RHP Marcos Mateo (who was on the 60-day DL after undergoing TJS in June), and RHP Miguel Socolovich (claimed off waivers from Baltimore in August) outright to Iowa after the quartet cleared waivers. 


In addition to the seven players (RHPs Dae-Eun Rhee, Kevin Rhoderick, Nick Struck, and Tony Zych, INF Javier Baez, IF-OF Rubi Silva, and OF Matt Silva) who are assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, there are 17 other Cubs or Cubs minor leaguers on the rosters of teams in the Latin winter Leagues:


The Mesa Solar Sox were drubbed by the Peoria Javelinas 9-2 yesterday in AFL action at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.


Only two Cubs played in the game, as Matt Szczur got the start in CF and batted lead-off, and Javier Baez hit 5th and played SS.


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