ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have added four players to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft next month at the Winter Meetings. The four players are right-handed pitchers Fabio Castillo and Wilmer Font, left-handed pitcher Miguel De Los Santos and outfielder Engel Beltre.

Castillo, 21, was 1-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 39 relief appearances while splitting time between Class A Bakersfield and Double A Frisco. Opponents hit .219 off him and he struck out 67 in 55 1/3 innings. He also has a 2.79 ERA and two saves in the Arizona Fall League. He is unlikely to make the team out of Spring Training but is one of the Rangers' top bullpen prospects for the future.

Font, 20, will miss 2011 because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery but is still a highly regarded prospect. He was 5-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 16 starts between Class A Hickory and Bakersfield. He had a 2.87 ERA in eight starts in Bakersfield before going on the disabled list with elbow problems on July 7.

De Los Santos, 22, was 4-2 with 2.94 ERA in 13 starts and nine relief appearances between Class A Spokane and Hickory. Opponents hit .161 off him and he struck out 14.3 batters per nine innings while walking 5.6 batters.

Beltre was one of three players acquired from the Red Sox in a trade for Eric Gagne on July 31, 2007. Beltre, 21, combined to hit .300 (133-444) with 15 doubles, eight triples, six home runs, 49 RBI, and 18 stolen bases in 115 games between Bakersfield and Frisco.

Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft who are not on their Major League organization's 40-man roster and were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.

The Rangers have quite a few Minor League players who were not added to the roster and could be highly coveted in the Rule 5 Draft. Among those not added and still eligible for the draft are right-handed pitchers Jake Brigham, Wilfredo Boscan, Mark Hamburger, Carlos Pimentel, and Kennil Gomez, lefthanders Geuris Grullon, Beau Jones, Kasey Kiker, and Joseph Ortiz, infielders Chad Tracy and Davis Stoneburner; and outfielders Marcus Lemon and David Paisano.

But any player taken must stay with a club for an entire season or be offered back to their former team.

Rangers begin search for hitting coach

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers began the search for a new hitting coach by interviewing a number of candidates by phone on Friday.

General manager Jon Daniels said the club will interview candidates by phone at first and then decide who will be brought in for face-to-face interviews. There will be candidates interviewed from inside and outside the organization.

The Rangers will not confirm any candidates until they bring them in for interviews. Thad Bosley, who was one of the finalists for the job last year, is one candidate. The internal candidates are expected to be special assignment coach Johnny Narron and Triple-A hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.

The job became open on Monday when Clint Hurdle was named manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Rangers are starting the process late and may have trouble getting permission from other clubs to interview external candidates.

"That's not anybody's fault," Daniels said. "We were in the World Series. The Pirates had to wait. It's not their fault."

Hamilton nominated for SI Sportsman of Year

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has been nominated for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year Award. The winner will be announced in December.

According to a release from the magazine, Hamilton was nominated "for his dominant play of the field this season but also for being a person who goes to incredible lengths for his team day in and day out."

Hamilton led the Major Leagues with a .359 average while hitting 32 home runs and driving in 100 runs as the Rangers won the American League West division title and went to the World Series for the first time in club history.

He has already won the Sporting News MLB Player of the Year; Sporting News AL All-Star Team; Players Choice Award for AL Outstanding Player; Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award; New York BBWAA Chapter Sid Mercer-Dick Young Player of the Year Award and the Boston BBWAA Chapter Ted Williams Award as baseball's top hitter.

The American League Most Valuable Player Award will be announced on Monday.

Rangers ink three to Minor League deals

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers on Friday signed three players to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training: catcher Kevin Cash, outfielder Doug Deeds and infielder Esteban German.

Cash, 33, is a career .183 hitter in 246 big league games with the Jays, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees and Astros who is likely no more than Triple-A insurance. Deeds, 29, has never played in the Majors but batted .302 with 12 homers, 39 doubles, 8 triples, and 55 RBI in 480 at-bats at Triple-A Reno in the Diamondbacks organization.

German has spent the past two seasons splitting time with the Rangers and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He hit 280 with five home runs, 27 doubles, and 55 RBI in 126 games with Oklahoma City, and ranking second in the Pacific Coast League with 50 steals.

Rangers set Round Rock staff

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers announced the coaching staff for Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. Bobby Jones will be the manager, marking his 11th season as skipper of the club's Triple-A affiliate.

Terry Clark will serve as pitching coach, Scott Coolbaugh as hitting coach and Spike Owen as third-base coach. Jason Roberts returns for his third season as trainer, while Ric Mabie will serve as strength coach.