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Astros select pitcher in Rule 5 Draft

Astros select pitcher in Rule 5 Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Astros selected left-hander Wesley Wright from the Dodgers in the Major League phase of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, the final formal activity of the four-day Winter Meetings that began on Monday.

The Astros also selected right-hander Guiseppe Norrito from the Dodgers in the Triple-A phase of the Draft.

Astros East Coast scouting supervisor Clarence Johns was with the Dodgers when they drafted Wright in '03, and he gave a strong recommendation to select the lefty during Thursday's Draft.

"I'm sure we weren't the only club that had interest," Johns said. "I know the Dodgers had a very tough decision, because he's a guy that they coveted and would have liked to have kept. For us, he addresses an organizational need, left-handed pitching. Secondly, he's a guy that has present ability to compete on the Major League level, but also had a significant upside."

During the 2007 season, Wright, 22, posted a combined 3.92 ERA over 44 games (two starts) between Triple-A Las Vegas and Double-A Jacksonville. He pitched 30 games for the Jacksonville Suns, where he was 6-2 with a 2.49 ERA and two saves. He also recorded 68 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings pitched.

Wright will have to be kept on the Major League roster entire season in 2008 or be offered back to the Dodgers for half the $50,000 selection price. Wright may be able to fill the club's need for a left-hander in the bullpen.

Winter Meetings

"When you look at the numbers [of left-handers], there's a shortage of them," Johns said. "He's definitely a guy who can add value to an organization and be an upgrade."

Wright was 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA over 12 games for the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League in 2007. He was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the June 2003 First-Year Player Draft.

Norrito, 25, was 8-5 with a 4.13 ERA over 24 games (16 starts) for Double-A Jacksonville in 2007. He is currently playing for the Leones del Caracas team in the Venezuelan Winter League and is 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA over nine games (eight starts).

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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