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Indians add five to fill 40-man roster

Indians add five to fill 40-man roster

CLEVELAND -- With only five available roster spots and the Rule 5 Draft looming, the Indians had some decisions to make. On Friday, Cleveland opted to fill each vacant slot, protecting a group of players from being eligible for selection.

Among those added to the Tribe's 40-man roster -- now at capacity -- were infielder Jared Goedert, left-hander Nick Hagadone, right-hander Josh Judy, righty Corey Kluber and righty Zach McAllister. That eliminates those five from the pool of players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 9 at the Winter Meetings.

"The general sense," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti explained, "is that we feel each of those players has a chance to be productive Major League players for us, either this year or at some point down the road. Going through, setting our roster is one of the more difficult decisions that we have each year.

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"There were certainly more than five guys that were deserving to be added to the roster, but this is the group we ultimately settled on and feel good that they all have the chance to be good Major League players for us."

Cleveland would need to remove someone from the 40-man roster in order to select a player during the Rule 5 Draft, which is aimed at giving players a chance at competing for Major League roles. Any player taken must remain on a club's active roster or be offered back to his original team for half of the $50,000 drafting fee.

Eligible players are those who were signed at 19 or older and who have been in an organization for at least four years, or those signed at 18 or younger who have been in a system for at least five years. The Indians have a handful of farmhands who fall into that category.

One of the more intriguing candidates for selection is right-hander Adam Miller, who is working his way back from four finger surgeries. Miller -- a first-round pick by the Tribe in 2003 -- hasn't logged an inning in two seasons, but did see action in one game during this year's instructional league.

Antonetti noted that Miller -- signed to a Minor League contract and now hoping to make a comeback as a reliever -- hit between 90-91 mph in his one game appearance. The righty threw both fastballs and sliders, but his status with the club will remain unclear until the Tribe can closely monitor his progress in Spring Training.

We're in uncharted territory with the nature of his injury," Antonetti said. "The encouraging thing is he finished his throwing progression and pitched in a game and was healthy at that point. What that means for next year? We'll just take it one step at a time. Hopefully, he'll be able to get through his offseason throwing progression without any issues."

Another Rule 5 candidate from the Indians' system is versatile Minor Leaguer Josh Rodriguez, who has the ability to man multiple infield and outfield positions. Other notable Minor Leaguers who are eligible from Cleveland are Beau Mills, Matt McBride, Jerad Head, Carlton Smith and Juan Diaz.

Goedert, 25, was promoted to Triple-A Columbus in June after opening the 2010 season with Double-A Akron. With Columbus, he hit .261 with 20 home runs and 51 RBIs over 81 games. He could eventually emerge as a corner-infield utility option for the Indians.

The 24-year-old Hagadone opened 2010 with Class A Kinston before moving up to Double-A at the beginning of June. Between the two stops, the lefty went 3-5 with a 3.57 ERA over 28 games, including 17 starts. Hagadone ended the year in Akron's bullpen, posting a 3.68 ERA over his final 12 appearances.

Judy -- a 34th-round pick out of Indiana Tech during the 2007 First-Year Player Draft -- has gone 20-6 with a 2.76 ERA and 18 saves in four years in Cleveland's system. Last season, Judy went 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA and two saves over 38 games at Triple-A, following a brief stop at Double-A and a stint on the disabled list with elbow soreness.

Kluber, who was acquired from the Padres on July 31 as part of a three-team deal that also involved the Cardinals, split his time between Akron and Columbus after joining the Tribe. The 24-year-old went 3-3 with a 3.61 ERA in seven starts in Cleveland's system after going 6-6 with a 3.45 ERA over 22 games for Double-A San Antonio.

McAllister, 22, spent last season between Columbus and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees), posting a 9-12 record with a 5.29 ERA over 27 starts. The Indians acquired McAllister on Aug. 20 to complete the July 30 trade that sent Austin Kearns to the Yankees.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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