Mark Appel taking ‘indefinite break’ from baseball

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Mark Appel was the number one overall pick in the 2013 baseball draft, selected one slot ahead of Kris Bryant and 31 slots above Aaron Judge. He was selected by the Astros after a fantastic college career at Stanford and he was presumed to be the Astros’ future ace.

Appel was never able to put it together, however, largely due to a history of bone spurs and other ailments which have hindered his development. In five seasons in the minors he went 24-18 with a 5.06 ERA while allowing a lot of hits and walks and not striking out batters at a rate you’d expect from a good prospect. He was included in the trade that sent Ken Giles to Houston from Philly and Appel was no better in the Phillies system than he was in the Astros system. He posted a 5.27 ERA and 60/53 K/BB ratio over 82 Triple-A innings in 2017 and was designated for assignment by the Phillies in November.

Now Appel tells Joon Lee of Bleacher Report that he is taking an “indefinite break” from baseball, looking for internships in the private equity sector and applying to business schools in search of an MBA:

“I’m 26, I have a Stanford degree, I have many interests beyond baseball, which I still love, but I have a lot of things I care about. I enjoy challenging my mind.”

Appel says he may still return to baseball — guys with his baseball pedigree have done time in prison before coming back to the game and finding success — but the odds of him ever making the majors at this point are long. While I’m pretty sure he could find work in the minors if he wanted to, he’s probably being realistic about his future.

Good luck, Mr. Appel.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.