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11/18/11 5:54 PM EST

Cardinals add three hurlers to 40-man roster

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals moved to protect three pitchers from next month's Rule 5 Draft on Friday. In advance of the Major League Baseball deadline to protect players, St. Louis added Sam Freeman, Adam Ottavino and Chuckie Fick to its 40-man roster.

Thus, the pitchers will not be eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8 at the Winter Meetings in Dallas. Freeman and Fick are on the 40-man roster for the first time, while Ottavino, a former first-round Draft pick, was reinstated after having been removed.

Ottavino, who turns 26 next week, spent the season at Triple-A Memphis. The right-hander went 7-8 with a 4.85 ERA, 120 strikeouts and 71 walks in 141 innings. He made five appearances, including three starts, for the Cardinals in 2010.

Freeman, 24, returned from Tommy John surgery in 2011 after the elbow operation cost him the entire 2010 season. A 24th-round pick in the 2007 Draft, he's a left-hander who has pitched exclusively in relief in his professional career. He split 2011 between two levels, going a combined 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA, three saves, 59 strikeouts and 32 walks in 68 1/3 innings (59 appearances) at Class A Advanced Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield.

Fick, two days older than Ottavino, was a 15th-round pick in 2007. A right-handed reliever, he spent all of 2011 at Memphis, posting a 5-3 record, a 2.30 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 37 walks in 70 1/3 innings (54 appearances).

The additions bring the Cardinals' 40-man roster to 36 players.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.