The St. Louis Cardinals protected four of their prospects by adding them to the 40-man roster before Tuesday's deadline, making them ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft next month. The four players are right-handed pitchers Michael Blazek, Keith Butler, Eric Fornataro and left-hander Kevin Siegrist.
All four ended last season at Double-A Springfield, with Blazek considered as the highest prospect of the bunch, ranked No. 13 in the Cardinals system by MLB.com. In 40 appearances, including seven starts, Blazek recorded a 4.16 ERA.
Fornataro moved into the bullpen and finished with a 2.39 ERA in 57 appearances, while Butler led Springfield with 25 saves, good for second in the Texas League.
Siegrist, meanwhile, was on the disabled list with a shoulder strain for much of the season. To make up for his lost playing time, he pitched in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.37 ERA in five starts for the Surprise Saguaros.
The additions leave the Cardinals 40-man roster with 39 players.