TAMPA, Fla. — James Kaprielian compared himself to “a caged bull” Tuesday in enunciating his wish to get on a mound sooner rather than later.
General manager Brian Cashman on Wednesday said Kaprielian, considered one of the jewels of the Yankees’ farm system, may stay caged for the rest of the spring, regulated to simulated games.
“Yeah, that’s more than possible,” Cashman said.
Kaprielian, who turns 23 Thursday, is being brought along slowly — Cashman called it “a snail’s pace” — this spring as he missed most of last season with a right flexor strain. Kaprielian returned to pitch in Instructional league and then in the Arizona Fall League. The goal, Cashman said, is to have the righthander ready to roll for games in April, likely with High-A Tampa.
“We wanted to take a slow process in the spring, despite him being healthy,” Cashman said. “We brought him to big league camp as an acknowledgment and a thank you for going to the fall league, because that has to be a volunteer thing. We’re preparing him, really, for his April minor league season to start. We’re taking into account . . . that’s a lot of throwing from October and into the fall league in November. We wanted to minimize the exposure.”
Mitchell’s splitting image
RHP Bryan Mitchell, one of five pitchers competing for two rotation spots, made his second start of the spring Wednesday and was again solid. Mitchell allowed one walk and struck out two in three scoreless innings.
“Good results tonight but I felt I could have thrown the ball better,” said Mitchell, whose fastball reached 95 mph.
As he tries to win a job, Mitchell is also trying to add a splitter to his repertoire.
“We’re going to see if we can get to where it becomes a pitch for him,” Joe Girardi said.
Mitchell said he threw “two or three” Wednesday night. “None of them were great to be honest,” Mitchell said. “But it’s only going to get better the more I throw it.”
Hold your nose
Steinbrenner Field recently underwent some $40 million in renovations, but that mostly involved adding to the fan experience at the ballpark. There have been issues here and there this spring in some behind-the-scenes areas that were not renovated, such as the clubhouse. Wednesday it was a sewage-like smell that wafted inside and had those in uniform talking — and holding the occasional towel to their nose — before the game.