Phillies release Mark Appel, send 3 others to minor-league camp

Phillies release Mark Appel, send 3 others to minor-league camp originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies began the final full week of spring training by reassigning three more players to minor-league camp and releasing former first overall pick Mark Appel.

Appel, who turns 32 this summer, was in camp as a non-roster invitee. He was ineffective, allowing runs in four of six appearances and putting 11 men on base in 4⅔ innings.

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Left-handed pitcher Ben Bowden, right-hander Louis Head and catcher Max McDowell were sent to minor-league camp.

Appel was the top pick out of Stanford by the Astros in the 2013 draft. Injuries and underperformance followed, and he was traded to the Phillies with Vince Velasquez in the 2015 deal that sent Ken Giles to Houston.

The Phillies designated Appel for assignment after the 2017 season and he retired in early 2018 before coming back to the organization in spring training 2021. Appel pitched at Double A and Triple A that season and had a 6.06 ERA in 71⅓ innings, which included 15 starts.

He converted to a full-time relief role in 2022 and found more success, going 6-0 with a 3.15 ERA in 31 appearances. He was called up to the majors during the summer and appeared in six games with the Phillies, allowing two runs in 10⅓ low-leverage innings.


Appel has been open about his difficult journey as a professional baseball and described his current situation in detail over the weekend in a Twitter thread worth reading.

Later Monday afternoon, the Phillies completed a minor trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, acquiring outfielder Jordan Qsar for cash. Qsar was assigned to minor-league camp. He’s a 27-year, left-handed-hitting outfielder who hit .227 with 17 homers and a .773 OPS last season in 411 plate appearances split between Double A and Triple A.