KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros right-hander Mark Appel, who's spent most of the spring recovering from an appendectomy performed in January, is scheduled to appear in a game for the first time this spring. That will happen Friday, likely in a Minor League game and not the Grapefruit League game against the Marlins.
Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft, has been taking it slow since undergoing the procedure in Houston, just weeks before the start of camp. He said Wednesday he'll be prepared to throw an inning or two.
"I'm really excited," Appel said. "It's going to be good to actually toe the rubber in a Spring Training game. It's been a long time coming, so I'm real excited and grateful to have the opportunity to go out and compete with my teammates."
Manager Bo Porter said the decision on whether Appel pitches in the big league game or on the back fields has yet to be made, but he's anxious to see the big right-hander pitch.
"All things considered, if we don't have any hiccups between now and then, that is the plan," Porter said. "It will be great to see him get on the mound, and from an organizational standpoint, we have taken the precaution knowing it is Spring Training, and there's no sense rushing the situation and having a further setback that will go deeper in the season."
Appel, the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 17 overall according to MLB.com, was never really considered a candidate to make the big league team to start the season, though he's about as polished as you get, considering he spent four years at Stanford. That being said, he would like to break camp with a team -- likely Class A Lancaster -- instead of having to stay in Kissimmee for extended spring camp.
"I want to be ready for Opening Day, wherever I go," Appel said. "I believe I can be ready physically, and that's what my goal is. It hasn't changed since the beginning of Spring Training. Since I had an appendectomy, I made the goal to be ready for the Opening Day of the season.
"That's what my plan is. If the trainers and other people involved in making that decision say otherwise, there's not much I can do about it. I'm going to make the most of it one way or another, but I believe I can and will be there for Opening Day, wherever I go."