During the rehab process for a flexor tendon injury, James Kaprielian described himself as a “caged bull” ready to be unleashed.
So, how did Kaprielian feel when he finally got into a Spring Training game for the first time this exhibition season?
“The bull’s out of the cage. He’s wild,” Kaprielian said, a grin appearing on his face.
The 23-year-old phenom pitched two hitless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays while notching three strikeouts. While the Yankees were impressed with Kaprielian’s strong debut, both Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild informed Kaprielian he would be in minor league camp starting Friday.
“It is what it is. We talked earlier in the spring. There was a statement that I wasn’t going to make the team out of camp,” Kaprielian said. “But you know, me being the person that I am, I’m going to compete like I’m trying to become an ace.”
The Yankees and Kaprielian both believe he’ll be with the Yankees at some point this season. For now, Kaprielian is going to start in High-A Tampa.
“That’s the goal,” he said. “I mean, I think I can help this team. Obviously I need to stay healthy, but at the end of the day regardless of where I am I need to be able to pitch and throw strikes and give my team an opportunity to win and try to get the guys around me better. If it ends up being in the Bronx, it’s going to be a fun time and I hope I can help those guys win. But if it’s in A-ball, if it’s in Double-A or Triple-A, I’m going to try to do the same thing: help those guys win.”
Kaprielian will be on an innings limit this season, with hopes Kaprielian could eventually contribute in the Bronx during the summer months.