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November 21, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Webster, five others, added to 40-man roster

With the deadline at 11:59 tonight to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from selection in December's Rule 5 draft, the Red Sox announced a series of roster moves. They added six players to the roster: pitchers Allen Webster, Alex Wilson, and Steven Wright, catchers Christian Vazquez and Dan Butler, and outfielder Alex Hassan. In corresponding moves, the Red Sox designated for assignment pitchers Zach Stewart, Sandy Rosario, David Carpenter, third baseman Danny Valencia and infielder Ivan De Jesus. Following the flurry of moves, the Red Sox have all 40 roster slots filled.

Webster was one of the major pieces acquired in the August blockbuster with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 22-year old right-hander currently sits fourth on the SoxProspects.com ratings. Webster was originally taken in the 18th round of the 2008 draft by the Dodgers, and began to gain national attention with a breakout 2010 season. He made 27 appearances in 2012 at Double-A, the last two coming with the Portland Sea Dogs, posting a 3.86 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 130 2/3 innings pitched overall. Webster is likely ticketed for Triple-A Pawtucket to begin the 2013 season.

Wilson, 26, made a successful transition from the rotation to the bullpen in 2012. A second-round pick of the Red Sox in 2009, he transitioned to a relief role in April, making 37 appearances out of the Pawtucket 'pen. He took well to his new role, posting a 3.36 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 59 innings, and he recorded his first professional save on July 2. Wilson will get a long look in spring training, and even if he does not head north with the major league club, he would stand to be one of the first called upon if an opening presents itself.

Acquired in a July deal for former top prospect Lars Anderson, Wright, 28, impressed the Red Sox with a solid month at Pawtucket, and a pair of excellent appearances in the Dominican Winter League. In two starts for Leones del Escogido, Wright has struck out 12 and walked only one, giving up three runs in 12 innings pitched. This follows a 2012 regular season in which he delivered a 2.54 ERA in 141 2/3 innings at stops in Akron, Portland and Pawtucket.

Vazquez has a sterling defensive reputation and has started to mature with the bat in recent years. A ninth rounder in 2008, he was named the Red Sox Minor League Defensive Player of the year in 2011. At the plate, he showed an advanced approach while delivering a .254/.344/.369 line between High A Salem and Double-A Portland. While Vazquez saw a decline in power production from 2011, where he slugged .505 at Low A Greenville, his line represented a marked improvement from his first two professional seasons, when he slumped below the Mendoza Line. Still only 22, Vazquez is likely to begin 2013 with the Sea Dogs.

The addition of Butler was viewed as less likely entering the day, and gives the Red Sox five catchers on the 40-man roster. While he lacks Vazquez's smoothness behind the plate, his hard work toward becoming a plus defender has impressed Red Sox brass. Signed out of the University of Arizona as an undrafted free agent in 2009, Butler has been quite consistent with the bat, posting a .247/.342/.403 line with Pawtucket and Portland in 2012 that was nearly identical to his .241/.344/.402 output in 2011.

Long renowned for his plate discipline, Hassan has a stellar .391 on-base percentage in his four minor league seasons. While the 2009 20th-round pick out of Duke has shown inconsistent power, his ability to work deep counts and reputation as a tough out have stayed steady. This was true in 2012, when Hassan was able to post a .377 OBP for the PawSox despite only delivering 20 extra-base hits. While the outfield situation at the major league level remains in flux, Hassan is likely destined for Pawtucket to begin 2013.

All five players designated for assignment had been acquired by the Red Sox since the beginning of the 2012 season. Stewart in the trade for Kevin Youkilis in June, Valencia in exchange for Jeremias Pineda in August, De Jesus in the August mega-trade with the Dodgers, Carpenter in the recent compensation deal along with manager John Farrell in exchange for  Mike Aviles, and Rosario on a waiver claim in October.

A few other players that were not added to the 40-man despite some speculation they would include pitchers Josh Fields and Brock Huntzinger and outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker. Fields, a 2008 first-round pick of the Seattle Mariners who came to Boston as part of the Erik Bedard deal, began to harness his explosive fastball in 2012, posting big strikeout numbers at Pawtucket and Portland. Huntzinger would have been considered a long-shot for a roster spot back in April after four starts at Portland left him with a 9.19 ERA, continuing a trend of frustration after initial success with Lowell back in 2008. However, his stuff began to play up after a move to the bullpen, and he earned a late season promotion to Pawtucket. Hazelbaker's combination of power and speed has long been enticing. That mix of skills let to 19 home runs and 36 stolen bases between Portland and Pawtucket in 2009.

The following players who meet the eligibility requirements were not added to the 40-man roster, and are therefore available to other teams in the Rule 5 Draft: 

Michael Almanzar, Chris Balcom-Miller, Luis Bastardo, Jeremiah Bayer, Ronald Bermudez, Carson Blair, Miguel Celestino, William Cuevas, Jose De La Torre, Ryan Dent, Marco Duarte, Leonel Escobar, Jose Garcia, Zach Gentile, Derrik Gibson, Aly Gonzalez, Drew Hedman, Jon Hee, Pete Hissey, Jeremy Kehrt, Will Latimer, Heiker Meneses, Boss Moanaroa, Gerardo Olivares, Oscar Perez, Ryan Pressly, Manny Rivera, Charle Rosario, Pete Ruiz, Felix Sanchez, Matt Spring, Kyle Stroup, Tony Thomas, Raynel Velette, Ryan Westmoreland, Shannon Wilkerson, Tyler Wilson.

Photo credit: Allen Webster by Dave Letizi