Cardinals add four players to 40-man roster

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals have one spot remaining on their 40-man major league roster after purchasing the contracts of pitchers Austin Gomber and Derian Gonzalez and outfielders Oscar Mercado and Tyler ONeill and adding all four players to the roster.

Players on the 40-man roster are protected from the Rule 5 draft, which will be heldnext month at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

The deadline to set rosters is 7 p.m. Central time Monday.

Gomber, the Cardinals' Minor League co-Pitcher of the Year in 2015at Class A Peoria, led the Double-A Springfield Cardinals in wins (10), ERA (3.34), strikeouts (140), innings pitched (143) and games started (26) in 2017. Theleft-hander, who will turn 24on Nov. 23, finished second in the Texas League in strikeouts, was third in ERA and tied for fifth in wins.

Gonzalez, 22, went 4-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 18 games (15 starts) for the Class A Palm Beach Cardinals in 2017. The right-hander has allowed only seven home runs in 330 1/3 career innings pitched.

Mercado switched from shortstop to outfielder last season and had an All-Star season asSpringfield's center fielder.He batted .287 with 13 home runs, 46 RBIs and a Texas League-leading38 stolen bases. Mercado, 22, also led the Appalachian League with 26 steals in 2014 and the Midwest League with 50 in 2015.

ONeill was acquired from Seattle in a July trade for pitcher Marco Gonzales. He hit .246 with 31 homers and 95 RBIs in 130 combined games between Triple-A Tacoma and Memphis, helping the Redbirds to the Pacific Coast League title. The 22-year-old hashit 101 homers in 455 minor league gamesand has a career .508 slugging percentage.