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Yankees invite 44 players to Major League camp

NEW YORK -- The Yankees announced on Thursday that they have invited 44 players to Major League Spring Training, with 84 total players scheduled to report in February.

Five players have been signed to Minor League contracts with spring invitations to big league camp: infielder Dan Johnson, outfielders Matt Diaz, Thomas Neal and Juan Rivera and catcher Bobby Wilson.

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The Yankees had previously acknowledged some of the signings during the winter. Diaz and Rivera -- a former Yankee who started his career with New York from 2001-03 -- will have strong chances to make the team as a right-handed outfield bat, while Wilson is pegged to serve as Triple-A insurance behind the plate.

New York's list of spring invitees also includes two of the club's first-round Draft picks: outfielder Slade Heathcott (2009) and shortstop Cito Culver (2010).

Additionally, two players named on MLB.com's Top 100 prospects list have also been invited to camp: catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielder Tyler Austin.

The Yankees will also give a close look to right-hander Mark Montgomery, who could help in the big league bullpen at some point this season. Mason Williams, the club's top outfield prospect, did not receive an invitation to big league camp.

In all, the Yankees have invited 20 pitchers, six catchers, nine infielders and nine outfielders to camp as non-roster players. The Yankees had just 67 total players report to camp in 2012, 17 fewer than this year.

Here is the complete list of the Yankees' spring invitees:

Pitchers (20): RHP Corey Black, LHP Juan Cedeno, RHP Preston Claiborne, RHP Matt Daley, RHP Shane Greene, RHP Nick Goody, RHP David Herndon, RHP Tom Kahnle, RHP Jim Miller, RHP Bryan Mitchell, RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Zach Nuding, LHP Vidal Nuno, RHP Mike O'Brien, RHP Kelvin Perez, RHP Branden Pinder, RHP Ryan Pope, LHP Josh Spence, LHP Matt Tracy, RHP Chase Whitley.

Catchers (5): Francisco Arcia, Kyle Higashioka, J.R. Murphy, Gary Sanchez, Bobby Wilson.

Infielders (10): Greg Bird, Cito Culver, Walter Ibarra, Dan Johnson, Addison Maruszak, Luke Murton, Jayson Nix, Jose Pirela, Kyle Roller, Gil Velazquez.

Outfielders (9): Abraham Almonte, Tyler Austin, Matt Diaz, Adonis Garcia, Slade Heathcott, Ronnier Mustelier, Thomas Neal, Juan Rivera, Rob Segedin.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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