Braves set 40-man roster

Former Tulane star James Jurries

The Atlanta Braves have turned in their reserve list. BravesCenter's Bill Shanks has the details.

The Atlanta Braves added five players to their 40-man roster on Friday, including former Padres' pitching prospect Brad Baker, as reported Thursday by BravesCenter. Also added were four minor leaguers: pitcher Jose Ascanio, infielders James Jurries and Martin Prado, and outfielder Josh Burrus.

Ascanio missed much of the 2005 season with back trouble, but the Braves believe he still has tremendous value. He wowed the organization with a fantastic 2004 season, showing a fastball that reached into the mid-90s. In his five games in Myrtle Beach, the 20-year-old Ascanio went 3-1 with an ERA of 6.10, but he was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his two starts. The Braves expect Ascanio to be back at full strength next season. They still believe he is an excellent relief prospect.

Jurries finally cracks the 40-man after putting up some tremendous numbers in the Braves' system. Last year the former Tulane University star hit .284 in Richmond with 21 home runs and 72 runs batted in. He played at first base and in the outfield, and in the past has seen time at third base. Jurries has 61 home runs in his minor league career in just over 1400 at bats. He could challenge for a spot on Atlanta‘s bench in spring training.

Prado, considered the Braves' best second base prospect, hit .298 in 2005 between Myrtle Beach and Mississippi along with 5 home runs and 45 runs batted in. Prado has excellent defensive skills. He was signed in 2001 out of Venezuela.

Burrus also started out the season in Myrtle Beach, only to finish 2005 in Double-A. Burrus hit a combined .263 with 16 home runs, 74 RBI, and 36 stolen bases. Burrus was then injured in the Arizona Fall League and had to have shoulder surgery a few weeks ago. He could be out for the first six weeks of the 2006 season.

Here are some of the players not protected on the 40-man and therefore now eligible to be selected in the Rule V:
1 Ryan Basner
2 Paul Bush
3 Matt Coenen
4 Jairo Cuevas
5 Bryan Digby
6 Charlie Morton
7 Steve Russell
8 Gonzalo Lopez
9 Dan Smith
10 Glenn Tucker
11 Chris Waters
12 Sean White
13 Matt Wright
14 Kevin Barry
15 Buddy Hernandez
16 Diory Hernandez
17 Jonathan Schuerholz
18 Wes Timmons
19 Gregor Blanco
20 Matt Esquivel
21 Steve Doetsch
22 Ardley Jansen

So here is the Braves current 40-man roster, which currently stands at 38:

PITCHERS (18) Ascanio, Jose
Boyer, Blaine
Baker, Brad
Brower, Jim
Davies, Kyle
Devine, Joey
Foster, John
Hampton, Mike
Hudson, Tim
James, Chuck
Kolb, Dan
Lerew, Anthony
McBride, Macay
Ramirez, Horacio
Reitsma, Chris
Smoltz, John
Sosa, Jorge
Thomson, John

CATCHERS (3) Estrada, Johnny
McCann, Brian
Pena, Brayan

INFIELDERS (11) Betemit, Wilson
Giles, Marcus
Hernandez, Luis
Jones, Chipper
Jurries, James
LaRoche, Adam
Marte, Andy
Orr, Pete
Pena, Tony
Prado, Martin
Thorman, Scott

OUTFIELDERS (6) Burrus, Josh
Francoeur, Jeff
Johnson, Kelly
Jones, Andruw
Joseph, Onil
Langerhans, Ryan

Some additional players, notably Dan Kolb and Jim Brower, could be taken off the roster later in the winter if the Braves decide to non-tender them. Also, Mike Hampton will eventually be placed on the 60-day disabled list, which will open up another roster spot.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.

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