After not pitching in a game since April, Yankees’ prospect James Kaprielian could get back on a mound in the Arizona Fall League starting October 11th. The 22-year-old threw live batting practice on Tuesday at instructional league workouts at the Yankees’ facility.
Before the injury, which turned out to be a flexor tendon strain, Kaprielian was rising quickly up through the Yankees’ system. Although the process for getting him back on a mound has been a slow one, Kaprielian has nothing but good things to say about the rehab process and how it has gone.
The first step of pitching against real hitters took place a few days ago, and he is scheduled to throw more live batting practice on Sunday. The team has not yet officially decided to send Kaprielian out to Arizona to continue working his way back, but they do have an open pitcher spot on their roster with under a month to go before the AFL season kicks off.
Right now, Kaprielian says that the biggest thing for him is being able to pitch consistently and making sure that his mechanics are repeatable. The fact that it seems, at least for now, that Kaprielian and the Yankees were able to avoid Tommy John surgery is definitely a positive.
If Kaprielian does, in fact, end up on the Yankees’ AFL roster, his progress out there will definitely be something to monitor. The Yankees are in desperate need of a pitching prospect to emerge to help fill out their big league rotation in the very near future. The Yankees are looking at a situation where CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, and Michael Pineda could all be gone after the upcoming season without much help on the free agent market.
If Kaprielian can get back on track in Arizona this fall or spring training next year, and can position himself to be big league ready at some point in 2017 it would be a huge help for the Yankees. It feels like quite some time since the Yankees had a pitching prospect find success for them, and it would be good for that to finally happen again.