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.

Cubs place Brandon Morrow on disabled list with biceps inflammation

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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have placed closer Brandon Morrow on the 10-day disabled with inflammation in his right biceps. Manager Joe Maddon said he doesn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. He said, “Velocity was down last outing. I asked him about it after the game and could tell he was holding something back. Said it was just that time of year.”

Morrow, 33, has had an excellent season for the Cubs, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30 2/3 innings. The right-hander is under contract next year at $9 million and has a 2020 vesting option worth $12 million with a $3 million buyout.

Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop will likely handle save situations while Morrow is out.