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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Stanford alum Mark Appel reflects on major-league debut

Former Stanford standout Mark Appel, a Monte Vista-Danville alum with was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, said he was near tears during his major-league debut for the Phillies against the Braves on Wednesday night.

Appel, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning, left baseball in 2018 due to injuries in ineffectiveness. He rejoined the Phillies organization, which had acquired him from the Astros in a 2018 trade, in 2021 and earned a promotion to the majors Saturday.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Appel said. “I was trying to hold back the tears. It was emotional. It was special.”

Appel, 30, retired Marcell Ozuna on a liner to first, allowed a single by William Contreras, struck out Adam Duvall and retired Phil Gosselin on a grounder.

“I felt like there were times when I was hopeless, that this dream would never happen,” Appel told MLB.com. “So, yeah, I was choking back tears.”

All-Star Game news: Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. were elected to start in the July 19 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.

The pair were chosen under new rules that give starting spots to the top vote-getter in each league in the first phase of online voting, which began June 8 and ended Thursday. Others advanced to the second phase, which runs from Tuesday and ends on July 8. Votes from the first phase do not carry over.

Starters will be announced July 8, and pitchers and reserves on July 10.

Judge received 3.76 million votes and was elected to start for the fourth time. Acuna led the NL with 3.5 million votes and was elected to start for the third time.

The AL’s Phase 2 candidates are Alejandro Kirk and Jose Trevino at catcher; Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Ty France at first base; Jose Altuve and Santiago Espinal at second; Jose Ramirez and Rafael Devers at third; Bo Bichette and Tim Anderson at shortstop; Trout, George Springer, Giancarlo Stanton and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the outfield and Yordan Alvarez and Shohei Ohtani at DH.

The other NL finalists include Willson Contreras and Travis D’Arnaud at catcher; Paul Goldschmidt and Pete Alonso at first base; Ozzie Albies and Jazz Chisholm at second, Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado at third; Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson at shortstop, Joe Pederson, Betts, Starling Marte and Duvall in the outfield and Bryce Harper and William Contreras at DH.

Moving on: The Twins’ series finale against the Guardians on Thursday marked the finale day of Wes Johnson’s tenure as Minnesota’s pitching coach. He is leaving the Twins to assume the same role at LSU.

“Not an easy day,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Wes will be on the plane with us. He’ll fly back with us to Minnesota. We’ll have some time to decompress and talk a little bit. Some emotions will be present.”

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