Mark Appel had the best start of his pro career last night

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Astros prospect Mark Appel was terrible at Single-A and then there was a weird quasi-controversy about him throwing a bullpen session in Houston, but now the former No. 1 overall pick is thriving at Double-A.

Last night Appel tossed eight innings of shutout, two-hit ball while striking out 10 and and walking one. And, according to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, the 23-year-old right-hander’s average fastball clocked in at 96 miles per hour.

Appel had an ugly 9.74 ERA in 12 starts at high Single-A to begin the season, but since a promotion to Double-A he’s made six starts with a 3.15 ERA and 34/10 K/BB ratio in 34 innings while allowing just one home run.

Athletics DFA Liam Hendriks

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The Oakland A’s have designated reliever Liam Hendriks for assignment.

Hendriks got blown up for four runs on four hits — two homers — in an inning of work yesterday and the A’s have apparently seen enough. It’s been a rough go if it all around, really, as he’s posted a 7.36 ERA over 13 appearances.

Hendriks, who appeared in 70 games last season, signed a one-year deal last winter to avoid arbitration. The deal is for $1.9 million, so anyone claiming him off of waivers or trading for him will owe him a bit over half of that. Given the durability the eight-year veteran has shown in previous seasons that’s not out of the question, but his ineffectiveness this year, combined with a groin problem that caused him to miss some time, may give suitors pause.