LOS ANGELES -- Anybody can speculate on the Dodgers' best prospects, but the organization chimed in Thursday by adding five Minor Leaguers to the 40-man Major League roster.
Added were right-handed pitchers Jesus Castillo and Travis Schlichting, left-handed pitchers Victor Garate and Brent Leach and outfielder Jamie Hoffman. The moves protect the players from being selected by another club in the Rule 5 Draft, to be held at the Winter Meetings on Dec. 11.
In a procedural move, the club also reinstated from the 60-day disabled list infielder Tony Abreu, outfielder Andruw Jones and right-handed pitchers Mario Alvarez, Yhency Brazoban and Jason Schmidt.
The Dodgers' Major League roster is at 38. Because of free agency, the Dodgers have only five infielders on their roster.
Castillo, 24, went 7-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 23 starts with Double-A Jacksonville in 2008. He was a midseason Southern League All-Star and finished the year ranked third in the league in ERA. The Dodgers' 27th-round selection from the 2003 Draft is currently pitching for Hermosillo of the Mexican Winter League. In four professional seasons, Castillo is 16-20 with a 3.73 ERA in 71 games (64 starts).
Garate led the Dodgers Minor League system in 2008 with a 2.79 ERA and 150 strikeouts in a combined 116 innings with Class A Great Lakes and Class A Inland Empire. The 24-year-old Venezuelan, who was converted to a starter in mid-May, went 6-3 with a 1.85 ERA in 17 games (12 starts) with Great Lakes and 3-0 with a 4.70 ERA in seven starts with Inland Empire. He was selected by the Dodgers in the Minor League phase of the 2007 Rule 5 Draft from the Houston Astros. Garate is 23-6 with 11 saves and a 3.50 ERA in 107 Minor League games (19 starts) in four seasons overall. Garate is currently playing for Caracas of the Venezuelan Winter League.
Hoffmann was a midseason Southern League All-Star in 2008 with Jacksonville, where he hit .278 with 10 homers, 71 RBIs and 28 steals in 133 games. The 24-year-old, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent in September 2003, played for Surprise of the Arizona Fall League. He is a career .285 hitter with 90 steals in 559 Minor League games. Hoffman has been rated by Baseball America as the best defensive outfielder in the Dodgers' Minor League system in each of the past three seasons.
Leach went 2-3 with 15 saves and a 2.60 ERA in a combined 49 games with Inland Empire and Jacksonville in 2008. He began the year with Inland Empire, and was promoted to Jacksonville on June 1 for his Double-A debut. The Mississippi native, who turned 26 on Tuesday, led Jacksonville with 12 saves while posting a 3.77 ERA in 40 appearances. He limited Southern League opponents to a .215 average, including a .210 mark (13-for-62) by left-handed hitters. Leach pitched for Surprise of the AFL. In four years as a pro, the Dodgers' sixth-round pick from the 2005 Draft is 14-12 with 20 saves and 2.90 ERA in 117 games (23 starts).
Schlichting went 6-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 33 games with Jacksonville in 2008 after beginning the year in extended spring training. The 24-year-old, who pitched for Surprise of the AFL, was signed as a free agent in October 2007 after pitching for Kansas City of the Independent Northern League in 2007. He was originally selected by Tampa Bay as a position player in the fourth round of the 2003 Draft, and was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in December 2005. Schlichting started pitching during the 2006 season with the Angels' Arizona Summer League club.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.