Ryan and Hanson Added to Cards' 40-Man Roster

You heard it here first! Two new additions bring the Cardinals' 40-man roster up to 34 players.

Third baseman Travis Hanson and shortstop Brendan Ryan were added to the St. Louis Cardinals' 40-man roster on Friday with the intent to protect the two from next month's Rule 5 draft.

Hanson, currently playing with Team USA, is coming off a stint in the Arizona Fall League. In addition, this past week, Hanson, 24, was named to the 2005 Topps/Minor League Baseball Double-A All-Star Team. This award is given to those players with the best performances at each minor league level.

Hanson hit .284 with 20 home runs and 97 runs batted in during the regular season. The latter was second-best in the Double-A Texas League. In the AFL, Hanson batted .261 with one home run and 8 RBI.

His mother, Karen, on the way to Saturday's Team USA game, told me that Travis was given the good news Friday and was "delighted".

The knock on Hanson this past season was his defense, but he was not only coming off a severely broken leg, but also was changing positions from second base to third. In 37 games in Arizona, Hanson had no errors after 36 this summer.

Hanson is expected to be the starter at third base for Memphis (Triple-A) next season.

Brendan Ryan, named by Baseball America as the Cardinals' seventh-best prospect last spring, was also tabbed as BA's pick as the best athlete in the Cards' entire minor league system.

Ryan, 23, was the Cardinals' seventh-round selection in the June, 2003 draft. The shortstop hit .311 his first season in New Jersey and followed that up with the 2004 Midwest League batting title with a .322 mark and added 30 stolen bases.

In 2005, Ryan started the season with Palm Beach, where he batted .303 in 49 games. In late July, he received a promotion to Springfield for his first-ever taste of Double-A action. Ryan hit a solid .273 with 11 extra-base hits in 154 at-bats.

On Thursday, this is what Assistant General Manager John Mozeliak had to say about the Cardinals' strategy and process. "We'll really spend a lot of time looking at players and where best to protect them – not that we haven't already been doing that process.

"We have a meeting with Bruce (Director of Player Development Bruce Manno) and he will go over his final recommendations for players. Of course, Walt (Jocketty) and I skim through it and we finalize it.

"As far as strategy, we lost a lot of people off our roster because of major league free agency. So, if we feel the need to protect players, we certainly have the spots," Mozeliak said.

With the 40-man roster currently at 34, the Cardinals are quite a ways from being forced to make moves to accommodate free-agent signings. As a result, there was little motivation to remove players from the 40-man at this juncture, at least.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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