Astros release former first-round pick

Astros release former first-round pick

HOUSTON -- Max Sapp, the Astros' top pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, has been released by the club, general manager Ed Wade confirmed Tuesday.

Sapp, a catcher selected No. 23 overall out of Bishop Moore High School near Orlando, Fla., hadn't played since nearly losing his life in a battle with meningitis following the 2008 season. He played two-plus seasons in the Astros' organization -- never above Class A -- and was a career .224 hitter with seven homers and 81 RBIs in 210 games.

"It became apparent that he would physically be unable to perform," Wade said.

Sapp, who received a $1.4 million signing bonus, hit .200 with four homers and 29 RBIs in 74 games in 2008 for Class A Lancaster and spent much of the offseason in the hospital battling viral meningitis. He missed all of last season while trying to recover.

Houston drafted Sapp, a left-handed hitter, after he batted .572 with nine homers and 48 RBIs during his senior year in high school in 2006.