- Jon Greenberg, Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
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MESA, Ariz. -- After getting his minor league deal re-worked in January and officially approved last week, top prospect Matt Szczur will have to be placed on the Chicago Cubs' 40-man roster before the 2011 Rule 5 draft.
Baseball America reported that in order to give Szczur, a star football player at Villanova and solid NFL prospect, more money to give up football, the Cubs had to release the outfielder and re-sign him to a new deal which opened him up to Rule 5 considerations.
But that's standard procedure, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said before Friday's home finale at HoHoKam Stadium.
"If he's healthy, we should put him on [the 40-man] before next year, and he's got three years to get to the big leagues," Hendry said. "It's a procedural thing. It's a standard minor league contract. If you change the contract for additional money you have to re-do it. You can't just write a check and then at the end of next year have to decide whether you want to add him on."
The Cubs are expecting Szczur to move quickly through the system and compete for the center field/leadoff job before his minor league options are up.
Szczur, 21, got drafted in the fifth round last year and initially signed for a $100,000 bonus.
He got a hit in his first 21 games last summer and earned a brief promotion to Class A Peoria before returning to Villanova for his senior season. He hit .347 in 25 games. The Cubs re-signed him for $1.4 million in January.
Jim Hendry: Prospect Matt Szczur won't be exposed to the Rule 5 draft.