Astros top pitching prospect Mark Appel lit up in return to rotation at High-A Lancaster

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Mark Appel, the first overall pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, was demoted from the starting rotation at High-A Lancaster on April 25 and sent back to extended spring training after posting ugly numbers over his first four appearances. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow offered optimism at the time, telling the Houston media that the young right-hander was simply struggling to adjust to the unique piggyback-start system being used at Lancaster.

But that is clearly not the only thing wrong here.

Appel returned to Lancaster’s rotation on Saturday night and got shelled for 10 runs on 10 hits — including three homers — over just 1 1/3 innings in a loss to the Dodgers’ High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He now owns an 11.93 ERA in 14 1/3 frames this season.

The 22-year-old recieved a $6.35 million signing bonus from Houston after being drafted out of Stanford University in June 2013. The belief was that he could be major league-ready by late 2014.

That’s obviously not going to be the case.

Brandon Woodruff headed to IL with oblique injury

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Update (8:33 PM ET): Woodruff is headed to the 10-day injured list with a left oblique injury, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff exited Sunday afternoon’s start against the Diamondbacks in the fourth inning due to abdominal discomfort, the team announced. He threw a pitch to leadoff batter Tim Locastro and left the field with a trainer. Junior Guerra relieved him.

In three-plus innings, Woodruff was on the hook for four runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts. He now carries a 3.75 ERA with a 136/29 K/BB ratio in 117 2/3 innings of work.

Woodruff will undergo testing, which should allow the team to provide an update on his status, likely on Monday.