Appel said in an interview with Joon Lee of Bleacher Report that he is taking an "indefinite break" from professional baseball. Selected by the Astros with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 first-year player draft, Appel was expected to be a centerpiece of Houston's rebuild and require only limited time in the minors before fronting the big club's rotation. Instead, Appel was hit hard in his first exposure to professional baseball and only saw his command and control worsen over the subsequent four seasons while never rising above the Triple-A level, with a trade to the Phillies in December 2015 doing little to improve his outlook. The Phillies were expected to transition Appel to a bullpen role this spring after shoulder inflammation cut short his 2017 campaign, but the 26-year-old decided walking away from the game was in his best interest at this time. If Appel declines to resume his baseball career, he'll become only the third No. 1 overall pick never to reach the majors.
Appel was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday. Appel, who was designated for assignment by the Phillies last week, will report to Lehigh Valley after passing through waivers untouched. The former No. 1 overall pick in 2013 has struggled since being dealt to the Phillies two years ago, posting a combined 5.01 ERA and 94:73 K:BB across two seasons (120.1 innings) with the IronPigs. He'll likely open the season back at Lehigh Valley.
Appel was designated for assignment by the Phillies on Monday. The first overall pick by the Astros in 2013, he was dealt to Philadelphia two years ago in the Ken Giles trade. Appel has failed to get his career on track since the move, posting an ERA north of 5.00 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season with nearly as many walks (54) as strikeouts (60) in 82 innings. He will now be subjected to waivers.
Appel (shoulder) was activated from the disabled list at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Appel had been sidelined for the past two months with a shoulder ailment. He will be used out of the bullpen for the IronPigs in the International League playoffs. It is unclear if the Phillies intend to return him to a starting role next season or if the move to the pen will be permanent.
Appel (shoulder) started a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Phillies on Thursday, Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Appel has been sidelined since the beginning of July with a shoulder strain. The minor-league season has almost ended, so it is unlikely we'll see Appel back at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season. Since he holds a spot on the Phillies' 40-man roster, there is an outside chance he could get a look in the majors this month if his shoulder is healthy.
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