Astros sign No. 1 pick Mark Appel

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Making official what was reported earlier this week, the Astros announced that they’ve come to an agreement with No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel.

Appel, who turned down $3.8 million from the Pirates last year as the No. 8 pick, is expected to receive around $6.35 million. That means returning for his senior season at Stanford turned out very well for Appel, but it also means the Astros would save around $1.45 million compared to the recommended slot bonus for the No. 1 pick, which they can then use to sign other picks.

As a senior Appel went 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 130/23 K/BB ratio in 106 innings, holding opponents to a .203 batting average and just two homers in 395 at-bats. Appel is from Houston and Astros owner Jim Crane talked about the right-hander returning home, adding that “hopefully it won’t be too long until he’s ready for the big leagues.”

Last year the Astros passed on Appel with the No. 1 pick to take high school shortstop Carlos Correa, who’s currently hitting .304 with an .830 OPS in 55 games at low Single-A as an 18-year-old.

Alex Cobb exits game with blister issue

Alex Cobb
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Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb made the shortest start of his seven-year career after reopening a cut on his pitching hand during Sunday’s game against the Yankees. In the first inning, he worked a 2-2 count on four pitches to Andrew McCutchen, then made a prompt exit from the field after taking a closer look at his right index finger.

This isn’t the first time Cobb has dealt with blisters on his pitching hand; in fact, it marks the second consecutive outing in which he’s been prematurely pulled from the mound after reaggravating the injury. By Sunday’s start, the 30-year-old righty had already lost three weeks of the season to the same issue, though the Orioles appeared confident in his ability to make another appearance after watching him successfully complete two bullpens last week. He entered the game with a 5-15 record in 27 starts and a career-worst 4.90 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, and 6.0 SO/9 across 152 1/3 innings. At this point, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll get another opportunity to pitch in the majors before the end of the year.

Following Cobb’s departure in the first inning, reliever Mike Wright Jr. was tabbed to fill in for the righty. His performance yielded disappointing results as well: After kicking off the inning with three back-to-back walks, he allowed three runs on a Gleyber Torres sac fly and a pair of RBI singles from Miguel Andujar and Gary Sanchez. The Orioles currently trail the Yankees 3-1 in the fourth as they look to avoid a franchise-worst 111th loss.