Former No. 1 pick Mark Appel reaches majors with Phillies

In this Thursday, March 3, 2016 file photo, Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Mark Appel delivers to the New York Yankees during the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game in Tampa, Fla. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mark Appel is a big league ballplayer nine years after he was selected No. 1 overall in the amateur draft.

Appel has been promoted by the Philadelphia Phillies. The right-hander, who turns 31 on July 15, went 5-0 with a 1.61 ERA in 19 appearances for triple-A Lehigh Valley.

"Completely overwhelmed. I have so many thoughts I want to share but can't find the words, so I'll just say this: I'm thankful," Appel posted on Twitter on Saturday.

"Today, I get to play a game I love as a Major League Baseball player."

Appel is stepping in for right-hander Connor Brogdon, who has been placed on the COVID-19-related injury list.

Appel was selected by Houston with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft after a standout college career at Stanford. He was an Astros fan growing up in West Houston and received a $6.35 million signing bonus from the team.

He went 10-3 with a 4.37 ERA while making a total of 25 starts at double-A and triple-A in 2015, and then was traded to Philadelphia in a multi-player deal. But he announced in early 2018 that he was quitting the game, saying he was at peace with the decision.

Appel rejoined the Phillies organization before last season, and he went 3-6 with a 6.06 ERA in 23 appearances with double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley.

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