Former No. 1 pick Mark Appel makes MLB debut nine years after being drafted

It was nine years in the making, but former No. 1 Mark Appel made his MLB debut on Wednesday following a turbulent start to his career due to injuries and mental health issues

Selected by the Houston Astros with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Appel made his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies, entering in the ninth and pitching a scoreless inning in a 4-1 loss

"One of the things that I came into this year knowing is that each day might be my last, and genuinely, I was at a point where I was just trying to figure out what my role was, reliever, starter, do I still have it in me to put up good numbers, things like that, so I was like if each day was going to be my last, I might as well enjoy it and I really enjoyed tonight,"  said Appel

Less than a month before becoming 31, Appel becomes the oldest No. 1 pick in baseball history to make their MLB debut 

After struggling in the Phillies minor league system, Appel was designated for assignment in 2017 and eventually retired in 2018 

In 2021, after the Stanford product returned to the organization for minor league Spring training

"Today, I'm working my way back, and I'm here to share both the hard-earned lessons I've learned along the way." tweeted Appel

"It almost felt like I was being brought into this fraternity of Major League Baseball players," Appel said of his debut

He also added: "It was hard to hold back tears."

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