"Everything feels good," said Appel, taken with the No. 1 overall pick out of Stanford last year. "They're taking some precautions after the appendectomy. The training staff wants me to be 100-percent healthy before I start pitching live. I'm taking it slow, just playing catch day by day. I'm kind of building up again after taking a break."
The Astros have a lot of money invested in Appel and certainly don't want to rush him, especially when he's not competing for a spot on the Opening Day staff. Still, he's looking forward to competing when he's completely recovered.
"I do want to be out there as soon as possible, but I also understand I'm looking at this from a whole career perspective and there's no sense rushing out there if I don't feel 100 percent right away, especially in Spring Training," he said. "And so, I don't think anybody really expected for me to make the team out of Spring Training. And so wherever I end up to start the season, I'm fully confident I'll be ready to go out and go four, five, six innings -- whatever they need me to do."
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.