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White Sox protect pitching prospects Leesman, Heath

The White Sox added left-hander Charlie Leesman from AA Birmingham and right-hander Deunte Heath from AAA Charlotte to the 40-man roster on Friday, moves that expanded their 40-man roster to 36 and protects those two from the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8.

Heath was 4-7 with a 4.73 ERA at Charlotte, where he averaged 10.3 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. Following the season, he pitched for Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League, going 2-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 29 strikeouts in six starts.

Heath is 25-31 with a 4.25 ERA in 153 games over five minor-league seasons. Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 19th round of the draft in 2006, Heath was signed by the Sox as a free agent in 2010.

Leesman, a non-roster invitee to spring training in 2011, has posted a 37-18 record and 3.63 ERA in 85 games in the Sox minor-league system. He was 10-7, 4.03 at Birmingham this past season and was named to the Southern League midseason All-Star team. He was selected in the 11th round of the 2008 draft.

Leesman, 24, and Heat, 26, would have been eligible for the Rule 5 Draft because they have been in the Sox farm system for at least four years and were 19 when they signed.

Among the prospects not protected by the Sox are outfielders Jordan Danks, Brandon Short and right-hander Terry Doyle. Doyle was 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA in eight starts in the Arizona Fall League. Short hit four home runs in the AFL.