No. 1 pick Mark Appel finishes pro debut with 3.79 ERA

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As expected the Astros have shut down No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel shortly before the end of the minor-league season to limit his workload.

Appel made his final appearance Sunday at low Single-A and finishes his professional debut with a 3.79 ERA and 33/9 K/BB ratio in 38 innings between two levels. Not a particularly spectacular first taste of pro ball for a No. 1 pick and experienced college ace, but certainly not bad either.

Between the minors and college he threw a total of 144 innings this season, so he’ll skip the Single-A team’s playoff run and rest up for next year. Appel figures to begin 2014 at high Single-A or Double-A and presumably should move pretty quickly if things go well, perhaps reaching the majors at age 22 within a year of being drafted.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.