Astros make Lamothe's Draft day come true
Paralyzed pitcher selected in 40th round Wednesday
HOUSTON -- Kind gestures rarely have a place in professional Draft rooms as teams gather the best talent in hopes of maintaining success for years to come.
The Astros took time Wednesday to look away from their big board in the 40th round and select San Jacinto College North pitcher Buddy Lamothe, who was paralyzed in early May after a diving accident at a Texas river.
"[Area scout] Rusty Pendergrass turned him in and said, 'Hey, listen, this is a kid from a local school, and if we get to a point in the Draft to make someone's day, let's do it,'" said assistant general manager and director of scouting Bobby Heck. "From an organizational standpoint, hopefully the Astros can make somebody feel better. It puts a lot of what we do in perspective."
The pick came seven rounds after the Texas Rangers selected University of Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor, who was paralyzed March 6 after colliding with teammate Zach Cone in the outfield. Cone was also selected by the Rangers in this year's Draft.
San Jacinto director of communications and sports information director Amanda Booren said Lamothe has spent most of his time since the accident at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, Texas.
Booren said Lamothe could arrive at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston as soon as Wednesday. It is the same rehabilitation center where Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been treated.
San Jacinto baseball coach Tom Arrington said it was heartwarming and admirable to see the Astros reach out and select Lamothe with the pick.
"It's a hard situation, and this is one that's very dear to my heart," Arrington said.
Lamothe held an 0.77 ERA and had 28 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings pitched in 2011. He helped guide Lyndon Institute to the 2009 Division II State Championship.
Arrington said Lamothe had a fastball which ranged between 92-95 mph and a breaking ball in the high-80s.
"Those things are not common throughout the state or the country," he said.
Arrington said much is unknown right now regarding the future health of Lamothe, but he has faith the Vermont native will continue to get better.
People can make donations to Lamothe and his family and get updates on the young pitcher by visiting http://www.wix.com/donate4buddy/buddylamothe.
Rowan Kavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.