Astros top draft pick Mark Appel had to have emergency appendectomy surgery Thursday in Houston. The procedure went well and Appel is expected to recover before the start of Spring Training.
Jeff Luhnow told Astros beat writer Evan Drellich:
Mark will be fine. He will report to camp on time. Once he arrives in Spring Training, we’ll see where he is at health-wise and take it from there. We anticipate that he will either be ready to work out at the start of camp or very close to ready.
Hopefully Appel is ready to answer the bell. The Stanford alum has gone on the record saying that he is excited to be taking part in big league camp this spring.
In the Drellich article we also learn that lefty reliever Raul Valdes suffered a left knee injury while playing winter ball. Valdes had arthroscopic surgery Thursday and is expected to be out of action for 4 to 6 weeks. Kevin Chapman and Darin Downs are now the favorites to break camp with the Astros as left-handed relievers. Valdes seems likely to start the season on an injury rehab assignment or in extended spring training.
On the bright side, reliever Jesse Crain is expected to start throwing on Monday. Crain, who hasn’t pitched since last June, had right biceps surgery during the offseason. The Astros are hoping that the former University of Houston standout is ready to help the bullpen by mid-April.