According to Brian McTaggert of MLB.com, Houston Astros top draft pick and No. 2 prospect Mark Appel is recovering well following an emergency appendectomy on Thursday night. The operation was performed in Houston — which is where Appel grew up and currently resides — and no complications have been reported.
It’s not exactly news you want to hear in the days leading up to spring training, but this shouldn’t represent too much of a setback for Appel as he enters his first big league camp. As we’ve seen in the past with baseball players, recovery from an appendectomy procedure can take anywhere from one week to one month depending on the circumstances. Appel’s recovery will seemingly be on the low end of that timetable. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow even confirmed that’s the expectation on Friday.
“Mark will be fine,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. “He will report to camp on time. Once he arrives in Spring Training, we'll see where he is at health-wise and take it from there. We anticipate that he will either be ready to work out at the start of camp or very close to ready.”
Good news for Appel. Even though he’s not expected to compete for a spot in the Astros' opening day rotation, a good, healthy spring could force the issue or at least make the decision-making process more difficult for Luhnow and manager Bo Porter.
Not that they would need to see a lot. After signing with the Astros last season, the 22-year-old right-hander delivered a 3.79 ERA over 38 innings split between Tri-City of the New York Penn League and Quad Cities of the Midwest League. Competitive numbers for a first year player.
He even got in some big game experience at the professional level.
"He pitched the game that got Quad Cities to the playoffs and had a healthy workload, but not too much," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "I can't wait to see what he looks like with a full season of rest. I'm really excited to watch him in Spring Training."
Luhnow says he expects Appel to get a full workload this season. He didn't specify what that means exactly, but it doesn't sound like there will be a strict innings limit in place. They want to give their No. 1 pick — and likely future ace — a chance to learn and develop quickly.
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