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Neal the 49th player to appear for Cubs

Neal the 49th player to appear for Cubs

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Neal the 49th player to appear for Cubs

PHILADELPHIA -- When Thomas Neal pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the Cubs' 9-8 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday, he became the 49th player to appear for the Cubs this year.

Neal, who was claimed off of waivers from the Yankees on Monday, is also one of 11 Cubs on the 25-man roster who did not start the season there.

The Cubs are a young team and in the middle of a rebuilding process, so manager Dale Sveum knows he is going to get a look at a plethora of different players. But this does pose some difficulties for the manager.

"You don't know people. We're getting people off waivers and things like that," Sveum said. "You just don't know them. A lot of times all you know is Minor League stats, and that is what you go on because most of these guys have a small sample size in the big leagues. Other than that, you just don't know what you have until you put them out there and see yourself."

Going through a lot of players is nothing new to Sveum. The Cubs used a franchise-record 53 players last season, Sveum's first at the helm.

That record will be challenged when the rosters expand to 40 players on Sept. 1.

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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