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07/18/11 9:36 PM ET

Astros honor Lamothe before opener with Nats

HOUSTON -- Pitcher Buddy Lamothe, the Astros' 40th-round selection who was paralyzed in early May in a diving accident, was honored during the ceremonial first pitch at Minute Maid Park on Monday night, sitting next to his San Jacinto Junior College teammate, Tyler Wright, who made the throw.

Lamothe was on the field and talking with Astros players during batting practice before the game.

"I've worked since I was four years old to get to this point and be on a Major League field and have my jersey on," Lamothe said. "I never would have thought it would be in this way, but I've got to take what I'm given. It's just a great feeling to have it on and talk to people like Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn and all those guys."

Lamothe is hopeful that he will pitch for the Astros one day. He said that much of his optimism is a result of the Astros selecting him after every other Major League team passed on him following his accident.

"They came in and picked me up and pretty much told me, 'We all have faith you're going to come back and play again,'" Lamothe said. "That faith has kept me going."

Lamothe had a 0.77 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings pitched in 2011. He helped guide Lyndon Institute to the 2009 Division II State Championship, and had a fastball that ranged between 92 mph and 95 mph and a breaking ball in the high 80s.

"Being out here just gives me a lot of hope to get back out here one day and pitch for the Astros," he said. "That'd be nice."

Lamothe has been rehabbing in Houston and said that he's seen a great deal of improvement in recent weeks.

"I've talked to other people who have had a similar accident, and everyone goes through a depression stage," he said. "But after that I just bounced back, and I've been working harder than anything else."

Astros manager Brad Mills said that seeing what happened to the promising baseball player makes him realize how little errors and mistakes during a baseball game really matter in the grand scheme of things.

"Some of those missed plays or not getting the bunt down or whatever ... Suddenly, it definitely puts those things in perspective," Mills said.

Rowan Kavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.