After James Kaprielian threw three scoreless innings in a simulated game last week, the Yankees said the next step would be a Spring Training game.
Now, Kaprielian has an official date set.
The New York Yankees announced Kaprielian will make his Spring debut on Thursday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida.
Earlier this Spring, Kaprielian described himself as a “caged bull”, especially with how slowly the Yankees were bringing him along from a flexor tendon injury. With Kaprielian finally getting some work in, he says he’s ready to go.
“I’m good to go. I’m ready to go,” Kaprielian said prior to the Yankees 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night. “But I’m sure you guys know that, because I’ve been saying that in the Fall League and I’ve been saying that in the offseason. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it.”
Luis Cessa is going to start the game for the Yankees, but Kaprielian will be one of the first out of the bullpen. Depending on how many pitches he throws, Kaprielian could go one to two innings.
“I think we looked at him and thought he was ready to go,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I think it was more watching him than him saying something. Larry (Rothschild) feels good about where he’s at. We took it slow with him on-purpose.
“He’s been champing at the bit. He wanted to go faster, but we said the prize is not in March — definitely not for him. So Larry felt he was in a good place and that’s why we’re putting him in. If we see him trying to do too much, one of us will sprint out there.”
The Yankees already confirmed Kaprielian was going to be on an innings limit in 2017. But if he’s healthy and performs well, he could easily be in Yankees pinstripes by the summer months.
“They have a plan for me, and my job is to do what I can to follow that plan and continue to just compete every time I get on the mound — whether that’s in the bullpen, a sim game or a live outing,” Kaprielian said. “I have goals obviously that I want to accomplish, and regardless of what they want me to do I have to push to strive for those goals and try to improve as a baseball player, a pitcher and a teammate every time I get the opportunity.”