Mark Appel, the 2013 No. 1 overall pick whose baseball career included a three-season absence from the sport, is getting his first major league call-up Saturday at the age of 30.

The Philadelphia Phillies are bringing in the right-handed Appel from Triple-A Lehigh Valley because reliever Connor Brogdon is on the COVID-19 injured list, interim manager Rob Thomson told reporters Friday night.

“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 tweeted Saturday morning. “Today, I get to play a game I love as a Major League Baseball player.”


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Appel has spent the past two seasons pitching in Double- and Triple-A for the Phillies. He has a 5-0 record and 1.61 ERA in 19 appearances for Lehigh Valley this season.

He rejoined the Phillies’ organization in 2021 after announcing in February 2018 that he was stepping away from baseball following injuries to his labrum and rotator cuff that ultimately required surgery.

One of the most decorated pitchers in NCAA history, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Appel eighth overall in 2012, but he returned to Stanford for his senior season and the Houston Astros selected him first in 2013, one spot ahead of Kris Bryant. Appel joined the Phillies when he was included in the December 2015 trade that sent closer Ken Giles to Houston.

The Phillies on Saturday are playing the third game of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres after splitting the first two.

Information from ESPN’s David Schoenfield was used in this report.

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