August 16, 2022

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The former first player, Mark Appel, to make his MLS debut was at the age of 30, and is ninth without goals for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The former first player, Mark Appel, to make his MLS debut was at the age of 30, and is ninth without goals for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Former top seed Mark Appel, a month shy of his 31st birthday, made his debut Wednesday night and scored a goalless ninth inning for the Philadelphia Phillies.

At 30 years and 349 days, Appel—whose baseball career has included a three-season absence from the sport—was the oldest previous overall pick from the June draft (since 1965) at the time of his MLB debut.

The right-hander allowed one hit and scored the strike as the Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves 4-1.

Abel said, “It’s so surreal. I was trying to hold back my tears. It was emotional. She was special.”

Appel was named #1 overall by the Houston Astros in 2013 and was part of a business deal for Philadelphia in 2015. Due to injuries and ineffectiveness, Appel left baseball in 2018 before returning to the Phillies organization in 2021.

Abel has spent the past two seasons promoting Double- and Triple-A for the Phillies. He has a 5-0 and 1.61 ERA record in 19 games with Lehigh Valley this season, and was promoted to the majors last Saturday.

One of the most decorated pitchers in NCAA history, Abel was ranked eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, but returned to Stanford in his first season and picked the Astros first in 2013, ahead of one place. Chris Bryant.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.