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Yankees finalize 40-man roster11/20/2009 6:45 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Moving to protect their Minor Leaguers from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, the Yankees shifted seven players onto their 40-man roster late Friday afternoon.
The Yankees also outrighted Shelley Duncan to the Minors, removing him from the 40-man roster. Doing so kept the roster at 39, giving the Yankees the opportunity to make one selection in the Rule 5 Draft if they desire.
Among the Minor Leaguers the Yankees did protect was outfielder Austin Jackson, widely considered the top prospect in the organization and the heir apparent to Melky Cabrera in center field. The 22-year-old Jackson, who hit .300 in 132 games at Triple-A Scranton-Wilke Barre this year, would have been exposed to the Rule 5 Draft due to his five years of Minor League service time.
Under Rule 5 stipulations, any player not on his team's 40-man roster is eligible to be drafted, as long as he has five years of organizational service time if signed as an 18-year-old or younger, or four years of service time if signed as a 19-year-old or older. The idea is to prevent teams from stockpiling Minor Leaguers who could be useful to other clubs at the Major League level.
The Yankees also added right-handed pitchers Hector Noesi, Ivan Nova and Romulo Sanchez, and infielders Reegie Corona, Eduardo Nunez and Kevin Russo to the 40-man roster, thus protecting them.
Teams are only allowed to select players in the Rule 5 Draft if they have open spots on their 40-man roster, explaining the move to outright Duncan to the Minors.
Duncan, who burst onto the Major League scene in 2007 by hitting five homers in his first eight games, has made little impact since. Despite leading the International League with 30 homers this year, Duncan has had only 72 Major League at-bats over the past two seasons.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.