No. 1 pick Mark Appel will be shut down soon by Astros

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Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said yesterday that No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel will likely be shut down for the season after making two more starts at Single-A.

Appel has thrown 134.1 innings between college and the minors, so the Astros will stop him from going much beyond 140 total even if that means missing the Midwest League playoffs.

Luhnow indicated to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that Appel “is probably getting fatigued,” which would help explain his underwhelming 4.50 ERA in 28 innings as a pro. Of course, his 24/6 K/BB ratio is considerably more impressive, although that’s still not particularly great for a college ace facing rookie-ball and low Single-A hitters.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.