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Astros, Appel taking smart approach after surgery

Astros, Appel taking smart approach after surgery

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros pitcher Mark Appel is still a little sore, but otherwise on the road to recovery after having an appendectomy on Jan. 30 in Houston.

Appel, who lived with his parents in Houston in the offseason, woke up in the middle of the night and thought he was simply sick. The pain lingered, and he soon rustled his father in his sleep to tell him to take him to the hospital.

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"Usually if I have food poisoning, I'll just grab some Tums or something like that," he said. "I did that after the first time I threw up, and I woke up again maybe an hour later and the same thing and the pain's worse. I knew something was up, and I just said, 'Hey dad, I think we need to go to the emergency room to be sure. Sure enough, I had appendicitis. It was pretty crazy."

Appel , the No. 1 pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft, will be eased into his throwing program to give him more time to heal.

"I feel fine," he said. "I'm still on the road to getting back to where I want to be, but I don't anticipate really missing Spring Training and I won't miss any of the season. It's all about being careful and not coming back too quickly, especially with it being my first Spring Training.

"Obviously, I want to be out there as soon as possible, but I'm not willing to risk a shoulder or elbow injury for the sake of pitching two extra outings in Spring Training. I am going to be patient. I talked to the trainers and strength coaches about a program to get back to where I was three or four weeks ago when I was working out."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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