Astros take RHP Josh Fields from Boston in draft

The Houston Astros took hard-throwing reliever Josh Fields from

the Boston system Thursday with the overall first pick in the draft

of players left off 40-man rosters.

The 27-year-old Fields was a combined 4-3 with 12 saves and a

2.01 ERA for Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland. The

right-hander struck out 78 and walked 18 in 58 1-3 innings.

There were 15 players picked in the major league portion of the

Rule 5 draft. Teams pay $50,000 to select them and must keep them

on the big league roster throughout 2013 or offer them back to the

original club for $25,000.

Steven Hill, who played nine games for St. Louis last season,

was taken by Oakland in the Triple-A phase. He made his major

league debut in 2010, homering in his only game that year for the

Cardinals. Hill played first base, third base, the outfield and

catcher in Triple-A last season.