By T.J. ZUPPE, 92.3 The Fan Indians Beat ReporterBy T.J. Zuppe | 92.3 The Fan

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – In advance of baseball’s deadline to protect players in next month’s Rule-5 Draft, the Cleveland Indians added five players to the team’s 40-man roster on Wednesday.

The Tribe announced that infielder Jesus Aguilar, outfielder Carlos Moncrief, infielder Erik Gonzalez and right-handed pitchers Bryan Price and Austin Adams were added to the club’s 40-man group.

That will protect all five from being selected in the December Rule-5 Draft.

In addition, to make room, infielder Cord Phelps was designated for assignment.

The movement brings the Indians 40-man roster to a full 40 players.

A corresponding move will need to be made when the team officially adds free-agent outfielder David Murphy to the roster.

Tribe general manager Chris Antonetti commented on each of the five players added Wednesday:

On Price: “He was a guy that really thrived this year in Triple-A. He made a lot of progress in how he attacked hitters. He featured a good fastball and two secondary pitches. He was one of the more effective relievers in all of Triple-A. He could be a guy that comes in and earns a spot (in the bullpen during spring training.)”

On Adams: “He worked really hard to work back to get back to where he was pre-surgery. He’s got one of the best arms, not only in our system, but in all of the minor leagues. He’s got a good compliment of secondary pitches as well and has missed a lot of bats. He’s another guy that we feel isn’t far from contributing at the major league level if he continues to make progress.”

On Moncrief: “He was one of the highlights of our development system this year. He’s a guy that has made a lot of progress. He really cut down on his strike out rates. He continued to improve his defense in the outfield to the point where he’s now a very good outfielder with a well above average arm with good reads and routes. He’s continued to improve as a hitter.”

On Aguilar: “He’s getting closer. He made a lot of progress from last year to this year. He’s continuing his work in winter ball. He’s off to an extraordinary start down there… He has a really bright future and he’s on a good path developmentally. We expect this (upcoming) year he’ll get some opportunities at Triple-A and if and when we have a need, he can be an option for us.”

On Gonzalez: “He’s another great development story. Erik is one of the hardest workers and best teammates in our organization. He did a tremendous job of improving himself as a player. He’s always been a good defensive player and has worked hard at every position he’s played on the field. We gave him an opportunity to play some shortstop and he really excelled there. We think he’s got a chance to be an above average defender… and he’s continued to improve as a hitter. As much as any player in our system, he’s made progress through his hard work this year.”

-Twitter @TJZuppe

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