Mark Appel set for pro debut

Mark Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's Major League Baseball draft, will make his professional debut Friday with Class A Tri-City, the Houston Astros announced.

Appel, who logged 106 1/3 collegiate innings this season at Stanford, will have his workload closely monitored by the Astros, who signed the prized pitching prospect two weeks ago.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow announced Appel's debut date, saying that the right-hander will face Lowell in a New York-Penn League contest.

"Tri-City is going to promote it, and hopefully fans will come out and see him," Luhnow told reporters Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Appel recently threw a side session at the Astros' spring training complex in Kissimmee, Fla. Luhnow indicated last month that he expects Appel to move up to Class A Quad Cities, and possibly Double-A Corpus Christi, before the end of the season.

The 21-year-old Appel was 10-4 with four complete games and a 2.12 ERA this season at Stanford. He had 130 strikeouts while limiting opponents to a .203 batting average.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.