Sunday November 20, 2011 | 06:11 AM

The Boston Red Sox added three players last week to its 40-man roster, two of them former Sea Dogs: 3B Will Middlebrooks, OF Che-Hsuan Lin and Class A pitcher Drake Britton.

That does not mean that those three will be reaching the majors next year. In fact, Britton struggled last year and may start 2012 in Class A again.

But by putting them on the 40-man roster, they are protected from the Major League Rule V Draft, which is Dec. 8.

In the draft, teams can pick other team's players who have been with the organization a certain number of years, but are not on the 40-man roster.

This process protects the players who may be stuck in a deep organization with no chance to move up. If they don't get put on the 40-man roster, another team can give them a chance.

There is a catch: Players chosen in the Rule V Draft must stay with the drafting team's major league roster for a full season, or be returned to the original organization.

At one point last year, the Red Sox had several prospects who were going to be eligible for the Rule V Draft. But then Boston traded three Sea Dogs - catcher Tim Federowicz and pitcher Stephen Fife (to the Dodgers) and outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang (to the Mariners) in the Erik Bedard deal.

All three of those traded players, by the way, are on their new teams' 40-man rosters.

Who did not make the 40-man roster? These three Red Sox prospects could be snatched by another team next month - pitchers Cesar Cabral, Brock Huntzinger and Caleb Clay.

All three were with the Sea Dogs last year. All three have had their struggles, but all have shown major league potential at one time.

Boston's 40- man roster currently has 38 players, although that does not count free agents (David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield) who may re-sign with the Red Sox.


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.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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