LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Friday added Jharel Cotton and Ross Stripling to their 40-man roster, the last day to set rosters and protect players for the Rule 5 draft in a couple of weeks.
The Rule 5 draft will be held on Dec. 10 in Nashville on the final day of the winter meetings. Those eligible to be selected are players not on a 40-man roster who were either 18 or younger when signed and in their fifth Rule 5 draft as a pro, or were 19 of older when signed and in their fourth Rule 5 draft as a pro.
In simplistic terms, that means high school players drafted in 2011 and college players drafted in 2012 need to be added to the 40-man roster to keep from losing them in the Rule 5 draft.
There is risk involved as well, because Rule 5 picks need to be kept on the active roster all year long in order to be kept by his new team, with a few loophole caveats as well. Usually there aren't many who stick, though the 2014 Rule 5 draft was uncommonly fruitful, with Odubel Herrera, Delino DeShields, Mark Canha, Oscar Hernandez, Sean Gilmartin and Taylor Featherston among those who remain with their new teams.
Stripling, who turned 26 in November, rebounded from 2014 Tommy John surgery to make 13 starts for Double-A Tulsa, putting up a 3.88 ERA with 55 strikeouts (a 20.1-percent strikeout rate) and 19 walks in 67⅓ innings.
"There really aren't a lot of people who can say 'I made a 40-man roster' and technically signed a major league contract. That's pretty special. I think the Rule 5 stuff isn't really something you think a lot about during the first three years until about right now, when it's right in front of you.
"In minor league baseball, there really isn't a whole lot of transparency as far as knowing where you reside in an organization's mind, so this would be a great indicator to see exactly what they think of me what my future is as a Dodger."
Stripling missed a little more than 14 months after Tommy John surgery in April 2014. His first start for Tulsa in 2015 came on June 19.
"I think the TJ surgery obviously weighs in the decision but I think I was able to come back last year and prove some pitchability and that I've still got some things to offer. I've been busting my tail this offseason and I'm ready to prove I'm fully healthy and set myself up for a strong 2016," Stripling said. "It means a lot to be put on the roster. It would make the last three years of hard work worth it, especially the grueling year of rehab, and I'd just love the opportunity to prove to the Dodgers and everyone else what I can do."
The Dodgers drafted Stripling in the fifth round in 2012 out of Texas A&M.
Cotton, 23, missed six weeks after suffering a broken wrist in spring training but recovered to have a breakout season. He put up a 2.59 ERA and a 28.6-percent strikeout rate in 62⅔ innings as a starter with Tulsa, then impressed in five relief appearances down the stretch with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
"It's an honor to be given this opportunity," Cotton said. "I've been working hard towards this, had a few bumps in the road but that's what made the pitcher I am today."
Cotton, drafted in the 20th round in 2012 out of East Carolina, made five starts in the Arizona Fall League, putting up a 3.77 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 14⅓ innings.
"I feel relieved completing the fall league," Cotton said. "It was definitely a great league to have the opportunity to play in. Coaches and players were great and I have learned a lot from them."
The Dodgers now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.