July 13, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Good things come to those who wait. A little more than a month after going undrafted in the MLB Draft, former University of New Mexico pitcher Gera Sanchez has signed with the Houston Astros. He is the second Lobo pitcher to sign a professional contract in 2012. Austin House signed with the Oakland A's in June after getting drafted in the 14th round.
"I'm excited," Sanchez said. "The (scout) for the Astros called (UNM head coach Ray Birmingham) and talked to him. Then the Astros called me and asked, 'How would you like to play for the Astros?' And I was like, 'Cool!' It's very exciting."
Sanchez will report to the Astros' spring training complex in Kissimmee, Fla., on Sunday before learning which minor league affiliate he will be sent to.
"This is well-deserved," Birmingham said. "He'll be a great pitcher for them. Mike Brown is a veteran scout and a guy that knows Gera's potential."
Sanchez, a native of Las Cruces, N.M., began the 2012 season as UNM's closer and set the all-time school save record before moving into the starting rotation on April 7. He formed one-third of UNM's first all-New Mexico weekend rotation with House (Albuquerque) and Josh Walker (Rio Rancho).
Sanchez led the Lobos with 95 strikeouts in only 78 1/3 innings and held opposing batters to a team-low .224 batting average. He finished his Lobo career tied for sixth in appearances with 62.
The Lobos have now had 18 players sign a professional contract in the past five years.