As recently as one year ago, it would have been very difficult to imagine the Brewers declining an opportunity to add a catcher to the system. But that's exactly what they did on Saturday.

The Astros offered back Rule 5 Draft pick Lou Palmisano, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said, but Milwaukee declined the offer, and Houston was allowed to stash Palmisano in the Minor Leagues.

Because Palmisano had a prior outright, he had the right to reject the assignment to the Minor Leagues and become a free agent. After he cleared waivers, the Astros informed Palmisano of his options, and last night, the catcher told the club he would take his Minor League assignment.

General manager Ed Wade said Palmisano, for now, will be assigned to the Triple-A Round Rock roster and will compete for a job with the Express.

The 26-year-old Palmisano was Milwaukee's third-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft and is a .277 hitter in six professional seasons, but he has yet to play above the Double-A level and missed most of '08 after undergoing left knee surgery.

The Brewers received $50,000 when Palmisano was selected in December -- Baltimore made the pick, then traded the player to Houston -- and would have had to pay back $25,000 to accept him back.

Instead, the Brewers were content to keep their $25,000 and will rely on other catchers in the system. Angel Salome and Vinny Rottino (or perhaps Carlos Corporan, Melvin said) are likely to catch at Triple-A Nashville, and the impressive Jonathan Lucroy is ticketed for Double-A Huntsville.

Palmisano's chances to make the team all but disappeared when the club signed Pudge Rodriguez, pushing Humberto Quintero to the backup role. J.R. Towles appears likely headed to Round Rock.