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Astros prospect Mark Appel dealing with tendinitis in his thumb

Jun 5, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT

mark appel getty Getty Images

With this year’s First-Year Player Draft underway, it only makes sense to check in on the progress of last year’s No. 1 pick, Mark Appel.

In case you haven’t noticed, Appel has had a rough go of things this season. The 22-year-old struggled to adapt to the Astros’ piggyback starter system with High-A Lancaster, giving up 10 runs on 17 hits and four walks over 13 innings before being sent to extended spring training. He made his return to Lancaster on Saturday and was rocked for 10 runs on 10 hits (including three home runs) over just 1 1/3 innings. It appears that we have an explanation for at least part of the struggles.

According to Brian McTaggart of, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said that Appel was scratched from his start with Lancaster today due to tendinitis in his right thumb. The good news is that it’s not a major concern. He’s expected to resume throwing tomorrow and make his next start one week from today.

When the Astros drafted Appel No. 1 overall last June, many said that he could make his major league debut by the end of 2014. That looks doubtful right now, though it’s obviously way too soon to write him off for the long term. If anything, it functions as a reminder that nobody is a sure thing.

  1. genericcommenter - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    OK. I’ll ask it. What is the piggyback rotation?

  2. stex52 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Pitch one starter for four, then put in another starter for four. On paper, it keeps them from tired arms. In practice, it has held up development for two or three of them.

    Jeff Lose-Now has already it was a mistake with Appel.

    • stex52 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      already admitted

  3. raysfan1 - Jun 6, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    It should be pretty easily treated, often with an injection of kenalog into the tendon sheath.

  4. musketmaniac - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    shot of roids, than run him out there.

  5. kappy32 - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    I have an explanation for his struggles… Maybe he isn’t that good. 10 runs on 10 hits? That is beyond bad. This kid pitched 4 full seasons at a quality baseball program in Stanford before being drafted (for the third time) and he is only at advanced A? You would think this kid should be in the majors by now with his history & how good he thinks he is. Advanced A? Maybe the Astros picked a bust here.

    As a side note, Appel was taken 1st overall in the 2013 MLB draft & Andrew Luck was taken first overall in the 2012 NFL draft. Both players played at Stanford. I wonder whether that has ever been done before; two players drafted #1 overall in two different sports, a year apart. I’m sure the Elias Sports Bureau has some info on that.

  6. 8to80texansblog - Jun 6, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    This has totally gone under the radar this year as Springer has just been killing it. Now with Singleton coming up and getting a HR in his first game Astros fan finally have something to look forward to.

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