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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Sox add six to 40-man, DFA five others

By ESPNBoston.com

In anticipation of next month's Rule 5 draft, the Red Sox did some shuffling of their 40-man roster just before Tuesday's midnight deadline, adding six players and designating five others for assignment.

Right-handed pitchers Allen Webster, Alex Wilson and Steven Wright, catchers Dan Butler and Christian Vazquez, and outfielder Alex Hassan were added to the 40-man roster, while infielder Ivan De Jesus, third baseman Danny Valencia and right-handed pitchers David Carpenter, Sandy Rosario and Zach Stewart were designated for assignment to clear space.

Players not on the 40-man roster as of Tuesday midnight are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 6 for $50,000. A player selected in the Rule 5 draft has to spend the entire ensuing season on the major-league roster of the team that claims him or else be returned to his original team for $25,000.

Adding Wilson, converted from Pawtucket's rotation to the bullpen early in 2012, and Webster, who was a key piece of the blockbuster deal with the Dodgers, were considered no-brainers. Wright, a 28-year-old knuckleballer, was acquired from the Indians for Lars Anderson on July 31.

The additions of Butler and Vazquez leave the Red Sox with five catchers on their 40-man, perhaps insurance in case Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway get traded away.

The Sox also have five outfielders on the 40-man roster, with the addition of Hassan considered a surprise. A native of Milton, Hassan spent the 2012 season with Pawtucket and played in 94 games, appearing in left field, right field and at designated hitter. He topped all PawSox players with at least 125 plate appearances with a .377 on-base percentage and finished second on the team with 55 walks. He was ranked by Baseball America as having the best strike-zone judgment in the International League.

Of those designated for assignment, Stewart was part of the Kevin Youkilis trade with the White Sox, Carpenter came from Toronto with manager John Farrell in exchange for Mike Aviles, and DeJesus was part of the Dodgers megadeal. All of those DFA'd were acquired by the Red Sox on or after June 24.

Of players left exposed in the Rule 5 draft, right-hander Josh Fields would seem to be a strong candidate to be plucked from the Sox. The 27-year-old had a breakout season in 2012, posting a 2.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, while striking out 78 and walking 18 in 58.1 innings. He could be a fit in the back end of someone's bullpen.

Another Rule 5 candidate is Jeremy Hazelbaker, who has shown a glimmer of impact potential. Between Portland and Pawtucket, he hit .273/.335/.472 with 19 home runs and 36 stolen bases in 2012. His speed and power combination, coupled with his ability to play an adequate left field and center field, could make him an attractive pick.

Here's where the 40-man roster stands:

PITCHERS (23): Alfredo Aceves, Scott Atchison, Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, Pedro Beato, Craig Breslow, Drake Britton, Clay Buchholz, Chris Carpenter, Rubby De La Rosa, Felix Doubront, Rich Hill, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Mark Melancon, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Clayton Mortensen, Stolmy Pimentel, Junichi Tazawa, Allen Webster, Alex Wilson, Steven Wright.

CATCHERS (5): Dan Butler, Ryan Lavarnway, David Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Christian Vazquez.

INFIELDERS (7): Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez, Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jerry Sands.

OUTFIELDERS (5): Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Hassan, Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney.