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Cubs claim Borbon off waivers from Texas

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MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs added another left-handed bat to the mix on Friday, claiming outfielder Julio Borbon off waivers from the Rangers. To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Alberto Gonzalez was designated for assignment.

Borbon, 27, who was expected to join the team at Miller Park during Friday's game, is a career .283 hitter in 216 games covering parts of four seasons with the Rangers.

"He's a .290 hitter for 600 at-bats in the big leagues, and steals bases and doesn't strike out a lot and drives the ball," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He's not going to be a prolific home run hitter, but he drives the ball. It's a really nice pickup. You don't have to trade or spend money. You don't find those kind of assets on every corner any more -- a left-handed hitter who drives the ball and catches the ball and steals bases."

Borbon joins Brett Jackson and recent pickup Ryan Sweeney as left-handed-hitting outfielders in the system and gives the Cubs more depth. Jackson and Sweeney are both playing at Triple-A Iowa.

Borbon can play all three outfield positions. He made his Major League debut as a 23-year-old in 2009 and batted .312 with 19 stolen bases and a .376 on-base percentage in 46 games with the Rangers. He played in a career-high 137 games with Texas in 2010, batting .276, before splitting the 2011 campaign between the Rangers and Triple-A Round Rock.

Last season, Borbon spent the year with Round Rock, where he batted .304 with 23 doubles, eight triples, 10 home runs, 78 runs scored and 20 stolen bases in 126 games. In 2013, he batted .317 (19-for-60) in 32 games with the Rangers during Spring Training, and was hitless in one at-bat during the regular season before being designated for assignment on April 9.

The big setback for Borbon came in 2011. He was playing semi-regularly when he went on the disabled list on May 13 that year with inflammation in his left hamstring. The Rangers called up veteran Endy Chavez from the Minor Leagues to replace Borbon, and Chavez ended up playing well enough for the Rangers to keep him. Borbon suffered a more serious left ankle injury in the Minor Leagues that ended his season.

Last year, the Rangers decided to keep Craig Gentry as the fourth outfielder and sent Borbon to Round Rock. Before the season was over, Leonys Martin had passed Borbon in the pecking order.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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