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Cubs add outfielder Thomas Neal to 25-man roster

The Chicago Cubs today added outfielder Thomas Neal to the 25-man roster and optioned right-handed pitcher Eduardo Sanchez to Triple-A Iowa.

Neal, who will wear uniform number 54, will be available for the Cubs tonight when they begin a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

The 25-year-old Neal was claimed off waivers yesterday from the New York Yankees. He batted .325 (86-for-265) with 17 doubles, two home runs and 29 RBI in 72 games with New York's Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate, turning in a .391 on-base percentage and a .411 slugging percentage, good for an .802 OPS. Defensively, he saw action in right field (41 games) and left field (21 games). Neal had his contract selected on June 14 and played in four games with the Yankees covering two big league stints, batting .182 (2-for-11) in limited action. He was designated for assignment on August 2.

The right-handed batter and thrower was originally selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 36th round of the 2005 Draft. Neal was a mid-season and post-season California League All-Star in 2009 and an Eastern League mid-season All-Star in 2010. He was acquired by the Cleveland Indians at the 2011 trade deadline for Orlando Cabrera and was named a mid-season and post-season Eastern League All-Star in 2012 after batting .314 (127-for-405) with 24 doubles, 12 home runs and 51 RBI in 117 games to earn his first promotion to the major leagues.

Neal was first called up to the majors last September 1 and batted .217 (5-for-23) with one double and two RBI in nine games. He has batted .206 (7-for-34) in 13 major league games covering the last two seasons with the Indians and Yankees, with whom he originally signed a minor league contract last January.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Neal has a career .301 batting average (774-for-2,569) with 170 doubles, 70 home runs and 370 RBI in 701 minor league games covering eight seasons. He has a .377 on-base percentage and a .459 slugging percentage, good for an .836 OPS.

Sanchez, 24, has no record and a 3.00 ERA (1 ER/3.0 IP) in three relief appearances for the Cubs this season. He was claimed off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals on May 21 and has combined to go 1-1 with one save and a 3.71 ERA (14 ER/34.0 IP) in 28 relief appearances between Triple-A Iowa and Triple-A Memphis.

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