Mark Appel on track to make his pro debut in early July

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Mark Appel signed quickly with Houston for nearly $1.5 million less than the recommended slot bonus for the No. 1 overall pick and now the Astros are making plans for his professional debut.

Appel hasn’t done any throwing since being drafted, but Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports that he’s set to begin a throwing program after meeting with the Astros’ brass at their spring training complex in Florida.

Next on the agenda will be some simulated game action, followed by joining a rookie-ball team, with Appel’s minor-league debut likely taking place in early July.

Marlins designate Derek Dietrich for assignment

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The Marlins designated utilityman Derek Dietrich for assignment, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. This comes amid a flurry of moves on Tuesday night as teams prepare their rosters ahead of the Rule 5 draft next month.

Dietrich, 29, is coming off another strong season in which he hit .265/.330/.421 with 16 home runs, 45 RBI, and 72 runs scored in 551 plate appearances. He played all over the diamond, spending most of his time in left field and at first base. Dietrich also played some second base, third base, and right field.

Dietrich is entering his third of four years of arbitration eligibility. He earned $2.9 million this past season and MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn $4.8 million in 2019. Cutting Dietrich represents a bit more than 4 million in savings for the rebuilding and perennially small-market Marlins. Dietrich should draw some interest, so the Marlins could end up trading him rather soon.

Wonder how J.T. Realmuto, now the longest-tenured Marlin, is feeling right about now.