Mark Appel recovering after emergency appendectomy

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MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that Astros prospect Mark Appel is recovering well after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Thursday. Appel should be ready in time for the start of spring training in just over two weeks.

The Astros took Appel first overall in the 2013 draft. In 38 innings split between Tri-City of the New York Penn League and Quad Cities of the Midwest League, Appel posted a 3.79 ERA — not bad for his first taste of professional ball. The 22-year-old has an invitation to spring training with the Astros but isn’t likely to crack the rotation immediately.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.