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06/18/10 7:58 PM ET

Astros ink No. 19 overall pick Foltynewicz

Righty hurler will start out in the Appalachian Rookie League

HOUSTON -- First-round pick Michael Foltynewicz didn't know much about the Astros before they selected him with the No. 19 overall choice in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Yet after he signed with the Astros on Friday and put on their hat and jersey, he knew it was a perfect fit.

"It feels great," Foltynewicz said. "It's felt great since I've put the hat on. I can't stop smiling."

Draft Central

The Astros selected Foltynewicz, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-hander, out of Minooka Community High School in Illinois, where he went 9-1 with a 0.38 ERA and 128 strikeouts over 72 2/3 innings. He becomes the 26th Astros Draft pick to sign, and the club has 26 more to sign, including No. 8 overall selection Delino DeShields Jr. Astros assistant general manager/director of scouting Bobby Heck is confident a deal with DeShields is not far away.

"It's moving in the right direction," Heck said. "We're happy with the pace of it, and I think he'll be an Astro sooner than later."

Astros scout Troy Hoerner said he tracked Foltynewicz, 18, closely throughout the fall and through his high school season.

"As we started to do more work and turn the corner on who Mike is, I was really sold," Hoerner said. "He just really came on. I felt like he really made the scout's job easy."

Foltynewicz will receive a $1.3 million signing bonus and will report to Greeneville, Tenn., on Saturday for rookie ball. Astros general manager Ed Wade said the timing of Foltynewicz's signing is ideal for the start of the Appalachian Rookie League, which starts June 22.

"Over the last couple of years, we've been successful of getting the lion's share of our players out there quickly," Wade said. "It's going to benefit Mike and every player that signs quickly."

Before the Astros' game Friday against the Rangers, Foltynewicz got a taste of the Major Leagues, visiting the Astros' clubhouse and meeting manager Brad Mills. Mills, whose son, Beau, was drafted in 2007 by the Indians in the first round, told Foltynewicz to enjoy the moment.

"When you start playing, you have to get after it," Mills said he told him. "I'm thrilled to death for him. It's a fun experience."

Despite the introduction to the Astros, Foltynewicz didn't set a timetable for when he would call the clubhouse his home.

He said he isn't fazed by the challenges that he will face as he continues to move up in the Astros' system, though.

"I've played baseball my whole life, so I think I got it down pretty good," Foltynewicz said. "I'm not wondering what it's going to be like, because I know what it's going to be like."

Growing up in Illinois, Foltynewicz said he always was a Cardinals fan. His mother, Cindy, even had a Cardinals logo on her purse. That will definitely change now, however, now that he has officially become an Astros player.

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