Friday November 19, 2010 | 08:43 PM

The Boston Red Sox protected three players who would have been eligible for the Rule V Draft by placing them on the 40-man roster:

Catcher Luis Exposito, pitcher Stolmy Pimental and second baseman Oscar Tejeda.

Also, Boston Director of Player Development Mike Hazen confirmed that Sea Dogs infielder Nate Spears has re-signed with the Red Sox organization.

Exposito, 23, played all last year in Portland, batting .260 with 11 home runs and 94 RBI. He figures to move up to Triple-A, although it is not inconceivable for him to begin 2011 back at Hadlock Field.

Pimental, 20, is one of those pitchers with "stuff" but not always the best results. He was 9-11 in advanced Class A Salem with a 4.06 ERA. He also had 102 strikeouts in 128 innings, and recorded some fine outings. He is expected to be in Portland in April.

Tejeda, 20, had a breakthrough year in Salem last season, batting .307 with 11 home runs and 69 RBI. He will be in Portland in April.

If any of the above players had not been put on the 40-man roster, they might have been chosen by another team in the Rule V draft - although that team would have to keep the player on the major league 25-man roster all of 2011 in order to keep him.

Boston's 40-man roster is now at 39.

Spears, 25, signed with Boston as a minor league free agent last year and batted .272 with Portland, hitting 20 home runs and recording 82 RBI. He had a .380 on-base percentage.

After the season, Spears became a free agent again. Boston signed him again. Terms of the contract are not known but it seems logical that Spears could get an invite to the major league spring training camp, and at least a chance to make the Triple-A club.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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