BALTIMORE — Brian Cashman isn’t hiding his concern level regarding James Kaprielian, one of the Yankees’ top pitching prospects.
“It’s high,” the general manager said before Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Orioles, a game in which Gary Sanchez was lost to a biceps strain. “I’m very concerned, given the fact that this has gone on since last April.”
The Yankees announced Thursday that Kaprielian, 23, was headed to the disabled list after experiencing discomfort in his right elbow. Kaprielian made three starts last April before being sidelined with a flexor strain that cost him the rest of the season. Kaprielian complained of soreness in the same area on Tuesday.
The righthander underwent an MRI and dye-cast MRI on Friday, but the Yankees won’t release any more information until he sees orthopedic specialist Dr. Neil ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Cashman did not discount the possibility of surgery, though obviously the Yankees are hoping for the best.
“If we’re at that point, we’ll certainly announce that, but we’re making sure we check all boxes, including the player’s interest as well,” he said. “So the player asked to see ElAttrache and he’s going to go see ElAttrache.”
Because of Kaprielian’s issues last year, the Yankees did not rush him in spring training, giving him only one appearance, which didn’t come until mid-March.
“The long and the short of it is two days before we announced it [Thursday], he said he was having an elbow problem again,” Cashman said. “Prior to that, he’d been throwing great, looking great, the feedback had been great. No complaints.”
With his first-inning single to right, Matt Holliday reached 2,000 hits for his career.
“That’s a pretty good milestone, something I’ll be pretty proud of,” Holliday, 37, said before the game. “I think you look back, if you had told me as a kid that I’d get 2,000 major-league hits, I would have been pretty thrilled with that idea.”
Judge to bench
Struggling Aaron Judge sat Saturday, replaced in rightfield by Aaron Hicks. Girardi said Judge’s 2-for-15 slump to start the season wasn’t the reason he was on the bench. Instead, it was about getting Aaron Hicks some playing time.
“I told him [Friday] he’d get today off to keep Hicksy involved,” Girardi said.
Judge, who had a .333/.391/.540 slash line in spring training, said his approach at the plate has been fine.
“I feel all right,” he said. “I feel like I’m swinging at the right pitches. I’ve hit a couple balls hard, right at people, but it’s still early, so we have to just keep building off quality at-bats and just go back to what we did in spring.”
Hicks doubled off Kevin Gausman in the first inning and scored on Ronald Torreyes’ two-run single. He also walked twice.
Didi on schedule
Didi Gregorius, who started the season on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, started his throwing program last week and also is taking some swings.
“Hopefully the first week of May,” Cashman said of his expectation for Gregorius’ return, the same prognosis given in spring training. “Nothing’s changed.”
The Yankees fell to 7-22 against the Orioles at Camden Yards since the beginning of 2014 . . . Masahiro Tanaka lasted five innings, meaning the Yankees still haven’t seen a starter go longer than that this season. “Our starting pitching,” Cashman said beforehand, “hasn’t been good.”