Mark Appel makes his 2014 debut, and more from Astros spring training

On Friday, Mark Appel made his 2014 debut following a emergency appendectomy this past January. Appel, who began his pro career with the ‘Cats this past season, was a bit rusty in his first outing back, but mentioned that it was nice to get back on the mound and face live hitters.

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Astros pitching coordinator Dyar Miller and roving pitching instructor Doug White stand behind Morgan Ensberg during Appel’s start.

Appel drew a large viewing audience:

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As always, it was great to catch up with some former ‘Cats. We were able to snag this photograph of members from last year’s championship team:

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Kyle Westwood, Brett Booth, Tyler White, Ronnie Mitchell, James Ramsay

We were able to catch up with 2013 ‘Cats infielder Tony Kemp and pitcher Andrew Thurman, who shared their thoughts on playing at “The Joe”, last year’s team chemistry, and the pitching staff. Kemp also shared his thoughts on winning two rings, one with Quad Cities and one with the the ValleyCats.

Thurman mentioned that he had gained a bit of muscle in the offseason, and it shows. The other day, Thurman was hitting 96mph on the radar gun!

Some other photos:

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2012 ‘Cats, Dan Gulbransen and Catfish Elkins

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‘Cats former pitching coach, Rick Aponte speaking to Astros Assistant Director of Player Development, Allen Rowin.

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Jack Mayfield

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Chan Moon

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Astros’ 4-time All-Star / Greeneville hitting coach Cesar Cedeno.

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Former major league pitcher, Dyar Miller serves as the Astros Pitching Coordinator.

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Former Astros, Adam Everett and Morgan Ensberg speak with Field Coordinator Paul Runge.

Special thanks to Dan Carubia for helping me out with the interviews and for taking all the great photos you have seen thus far!

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Dan Carubia with former ‘Cats hitting coach Joel Chimelis, a.k.a “Brooklyn.” (Notice how the picture is blurry because Dan did not take this photo?)

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