June 20, 2013

Major League Notebook: Astros sign top pick Appel

The Associated Press

HOUSTON - Mark Appel received high praise from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Wednesday when the No. 1 overall pick signed with the Houston Astros.

Speaking at a MLB diversity business summit at a convention near Minute Maid Park, Selig praised Houston's rebuilding efforts. He then likened Appel, a right-handed pitcher, and Houston's 2012 No. 1 pick, shortstop Carlos Correa, to two of the franchise's greatest stars, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell.

"The Astros are on their way to building the foundation that every club needs for sustained success and I believe this club has the right people in place to execute their very sound plan that is going to bring winning baseball back to the fans of Houston," Selig said.

Terms were not disclosed but Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said it was "the most significant investment" the Astros have ever made in an amateur player.

The 21-year-old Appel was 10-4 with four complete games and a 2.12 ERA this season. He had 130 strikeouts in 1061/3 innings and allowed opponents a .203 batting average.

INDIANS: Closer Chris Perez will throw at least one more bullpen session and may make another rehab appearance in the minor leagues before coming off the disabled list.

Perez, who has been sidelined with a strained rotator cuff since May 27, had expected to be activated Friday. But following a shaky outing Tuesday at Double-A Akron, the Indians won't rush him back.

Manager Terry Francona said Perez's mechanics were off when he allowed five earned runs -- three homers -- in a one-inning stint against Trenton.

TAIWAN'S RHINOS said slugger Manny Ramirez is leaving the team after 49 games because he misses his family in New York.

The Rhinos said they tried to keep Ramirez, including raising his monthly pay to almost $60,000 from $25,000.

YANKEES: Shortstop Derek Jeter took batting practice for the first time since being cleared to increase his rehabilitation program for a broken left ankle.

Jeter took 21 swings at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa, Fla.

Jeter hasn't played this season after breaking his ankle in the playoffs last fall and needing surgery.

PADRES: Shortstop Everth Cabrera was placed on the 15-day disabled list because he injured his left hamstring.

Cabrera, the NL leader with 31 stolen bases, was hurt during San Diego's 4-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

TWINS: Minnesota signed right-hander Kohl Stewart, the fourth overall pick in this month's draft.

Stewart, 18, was the first high school pitcher drafted.

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