Ex-Rays prospect Hamilton picked in Rule 5 draft

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Cincinnati Reds worked out a
deal to obtain troubled outfielder Josh Hamilton, sending cash to
the Chicago Cubs after they picked him from Tampa Bay in the first
round of baseball's winter meeting draft Thursday.

Hamilton was the third overall pick in the draft, after right
fielder Ryan Goleski went from Cleveland's system to the Devil Rays
and right-hander Joakin Soria went from San Diego to Kansas City.

Nineteen players were selected off Triple-A rosters, including
three by the Philadelphia Phillies. Players chosen in the draft
must stay on the 25-man major league roster with their new club all
season or be offered back to their old team for $25,000.

Hamilton was given a $3.96 million signing bonus out of high
school when the Devil Rays picked him first overall in the 1999
amateur draft. He missed two seasons because of injuries and
unspecified personal issues and then two more when he was suspended
in February 2004 for violating baseball's drug policy.

The 25-year-old Hamilton was cleared to begin a comeback in
June, but had a setback because of a left knee injury. He said
being on a major league roster is a "dream come true" considering
where he came from.

"I've always known I have the ability to do it. I've been
practicing, working hard at home. I guarantee I'll come in in the
best shape I've been in since I've been playing," Hamilton said.

Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said he got a scouting report
from manager Jerry Narron's brother, whose kids played against
Hamilton in an amateur league in North Carolina.

"We're real pleased to have him and look forward to seeing him
play," Krivsky said as the winter meetings wound down. "We've
done a lot of work on this, and tried to move up in the draft."

The Boston Red Sox took Tampa Bay pitcher Nick Debarr, a
6-foot-4 right-hander who is a year removed from Tommy John

The New York Yankees made their first selection since 1995,
taking first baseman Josh Phelps from the Baltimore organization.

A total of 46 players were selected in the Rule 5 draft, including 19 in the major league portion.