The Red Sox added three of their top prospects to the 40-man roster Friday night, just hours in advance of the deadline to protect certain players from the Rule 5 draft.
General manager Theo Epstein announced that the team purchased the contracts of catcher Luis Exposito, right-hander Stolmy Pimentel and infielder Oscar Tejeda. The moves give the club 39 players on the 40-man roster.
All three players were eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft, to be conducted on the final day of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 9, based on their ages when they signed and their time in the organization. A total of 38 other Red Sox minor leaguers will remain available to other teams on that day. The trio of Exposito, Pimentel and Tejeda represented the best of the bunch and will thus be spared the process.
Exposito entered 2010 as the top catching prospect in the system. He struggled at times at Double-A Portland, finishing with a .260 average and 11 homers. However, he ranked third in the Eastern League in RBIs with 94 and fourth in doubles with 39. The 23-year-old is an impressive presence behind the plate and has a very strong arm.
Pimentel will not turn 21 until February. He was 9-11 with a 4.06 ERA for advanced Single-A Salem in 2010, making an appearance in the Futures Game in Anaheim. Noted as a fantastic change-up artist, Pimentel was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2006.
Also 20 and a teammate of Pimentel's at Salem, Tejeda was third in the Carolina League with a .307 average and was one of only four players in the league to have double figures in homers and RBIs.
The one vacant 40-man roster spot allows the Red Sox to take part in the Rule 5 draft. They will have their chance to pick a player from another team but must either keep him on their 25-man roster all season or return him at a cost.