HOUSTON – San Jacinto relief pitcher Buddy Lamothe may never pitch in the major leagues.
He can, however, say he was drafted.
Lamothe, who was paralyzed in a swimming accident last month, was selected in the 40th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft by the Houston Astros.
"We didn’t do it for the notoriety," said Astros general manager Ed Wade. "We thought it would be something that would pick the kid’s spirits up and make him feel good. It’s something he can talk about for the rest of his life."
Lamothe is paralyzed from the waist down and was scheduled to be transferred from an Austin trauma center to TIRR Memorial Hermann rehabilitation center in Houston on Wednesday.
"We hope that this is part of the progress he is going to make on a lot of different fronts," said Wade. "I’m sure there will be an opportunity for us to get him out to the ballpark and say hello to him first hand."
Lamothe was swimming in the San Marcos area in May when he severely injured his spine while trying to retrieve sunglasses he had lost in the water.
Before suffering his accident, the Vermont native had a 0.86 ERA for the Gators.
"We just thought that this was an opportunity to have a young man, who has dedicated his life to baseball, have the opportunity to say ‘Hey, a major league team thought enough about me to take me in the draft’," said Wade. "It’s something he can take from this day forward."
Lamothe was not the only player that suffered a debilitating injury this season to be drafted into the big leagues. The Texas Rangers selected Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor in the 33rd round.
"You draft 50 rounds and in the later stages of the draft, you draft to fill rosters and some of the players taken at that level are organizational players," said Wade. "I think it’s important for us as an organization to be able to step up and so something like we did today (Wednesday)."