Cubs add four players to 40-man roster

CHICAGO The Chicago Cubs today selected the contracts of four players and added them to the 40-man roster: left-handed pitcher Jeff Beliveau from Double-A Tennessee, infielders Junior Lake and Josh Vitters from Tennessee and outfielder Matt Szczur from Single-A Daytona.

Additionally, the Cubs outrighted right-handed pitchers Esmailin Caridad and Kyle Smit and outfielder Lou Montañez off of the 40-man roster.

Chicago’s 40-man roster now stands at 34 players.

Beliveau, 24, was named the Cubs 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year after combining to go 6-2 with five saves and a 1.57 ERA (13 ER/74.1 IP) in 53 relief appearances between Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee in 2011, his first-career stop at the Double-A level.  The lefthander combined to strike out 89 batters and issue only 19 walks in 74.1 innings, an average of 10.8 strikeouts and only 2.3 walks per nine innings, and limited opponents to a .192 batting average against.  He pitched for Team USA this Fall.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Beliveau began the season with Daytona, where he went 0-1 with two saves and a 0.52 ERA (1 ER/17.1 IP) in 12 relief outings to earn the promotion to Double-A.  Beliveau went 6-1 with three saves and a 1.89 ERA (12 ER/57.0 IP) in 41 relief appearances to help the Smokies to the Southern League championship round.  Originally selected by the Cubs in the 18th round of the 2008 Draft out of Florida Atlantic University, the Providence, R.I. native is 17-9 with 10 saves and a 2.69 ERA (81 ER/270.2 IP) in four pro seasons in the Cubs organization.

Lake, 21, combined to hit .279 (124-for-445) with 21 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs, 38 stolen bases, 80 runs scored and 51 RBI in 116 games between Daytona and Tennessee this season.  The right-handed batter and thrower recorded 11 doubles, six home runs and 19 steals in Daytona and 10 doubles, six home runs and 19 steals with Tennessee.  Lake began the season with Daytona, batting .315 (64-for-203) in 49 games to earn the promotion to Double-A, where he hit .248 (60-for-242) in 67 games.  He is listed by Baseball America as the eighth-best prospect in the Cubs system.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound shortstop was named a 2011 Arizona Fall League Rising Star, batting .296 (34-for-115) with eight doubles, three triples, five home runs and 18 stolen bases in 28 games.  Originally signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent on February 2, 2007, the San Pedro de Macoris, D.R. native is a career .267 hitter (452-for-1,693) in 476 games covering five professional seasons in the Cubs organization starting with the 2007 season.

Szczur, 22, batted .293 (131-for-447) with 22 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 46 RBI, 75 runs and 24 stolen bases in 109 games for Single-A Peoria and Daytona, helping Daytona to the Florida State League Championship.  The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder began the season by batting .314 (86-for-274) in 66 games for Peoria to earn a promotion to Daytona, where he completed his campaign by hitting .260 (45-for-173) in 43 games.  He participated in the 2011 Futures Game and was a mid-season Midwest League All-Star.  He is listed as the third-best prospect in the Cubs system by Baseball America.

Selected by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2010 Draft out of Villanova University, Szczur was a two-sport collegiate star and batted .347 (35-for-101) in 25 games in his first pro season in 2010.  With Villanova in 2010, Szczur became the university’s first .400 hitter since 1997, batting .443 to earn First-Team All-Big East honors.  On the football field, Szczur led the Wildcats to the quarterfinals of the Division I Football Championship in 2008, the national title in 2009 and the semifinals in 2010.

Vitters, 22, batted .283 (127-for-449) with 28 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs and 81 RBI in 129 games with Tennessee, his first full season at Double-A.  The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder continued his year with a strong Arizona Fall League, batting .360 (26-for-100) with six doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI in 24 games.  He is listed by Baseball America as the ninth-best prospect in the club’s minor league system.

Chicago’s first round pick in the 2007 Draft (third overall), Vitters is a career .277 hitter (429-for-1,547) with 95 doubles, 47 home runs and 229 RBI in 419 games covering five seasons in the Cubs organization.  He is a native of Anaheim, CA.