White Sox add utility man Elmore

CHICAGO -- With the Rule 5 draft approaching, the Chicago White Sox made three moves Wednesday, claiming utility man Jake Elmore from the Houston Astros, while adding Carlos Sanchez and Trayce Thompson to the 40-man roster.

The annual Rule 5 draft, which is the final event of the winter meetings each year, allows players who have been in an organization for five years and are not protected on the 40-man roster to get a fresh start if they are selected by a team.

Sanchez, 21, and Thompson, 22, were both acquired by the White Sox in 2009 so both would have been available to other clubs if they were not on the 40-man roster.

The 26-year-old Elmore, who played all nine positions with the Astros last season, was a Pacific Coast League All-Star in 2010 when he batted .344 with 95 runs scored and a .442 on-base percentage. Known for a keen eye at the plate, he has batted .233 over 82 career major league games with the Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Typically a middle infielder, Elmore’s presence makes it possible for the White Sox to consider trading Jeff Keppinger in any deals that arise this offseason.

Sanchez and Thompson are both playing for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Sanchez batted .241 with 50 runs scored in 112 games at Triple-A Charlotte this past season. He entered the year ranked by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in the White Sox organization and is the system’s best hitter for average and defensive infielder.

Thompson, a second-round draft pick in 2009, hit just .229 at Double-A Birmingham this past season, but was tied for third in the Southern League in runs scored (78) and was fourth in RBIs (73). He is the son of former NBA veteran Mychal Thompson and brother of Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson. Trayce Thompson entered 2013 as the White Sox’s No. 2 overall prospect, according to Baseball America.

The White Sox’s 40-man roster is now at 39 players.