KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- It's been slow going for top Draft pick Mark Appel.
Appel, who underwent an appendectomy last month, is being brought along very cautiously by the club and has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game or even face hitters during live batting practice. Appel has thrown off the mound a couple of times since camp started.
"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."