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James Kaprielian understands Yankees want to take it slow with him

New York Yankees pitcher James Kaprielian throws in

New York Yankees pitcher James Kaprielian throws in the bullpen during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

TAMPA, Fla. — James Kaprielian described himself as feeling like “a caged bull” in his desire to get on the mound for a real game this spring.

But, unusual metaphor aside, the pitcher is nonetheless understanding of the deliberate pace set out for him by the Yankees.

Kaprielian, taken 16th overall in the 2015 draft and the top pitching prospect in the organization, has been brought along slowly as he’s coming off a right flexor strain that wiped out most of his 2016.

“We’re obviously taking it slow and there’s a purpose behind it,” Kaprielian said Tuesday morning. “I’m getting anxious and obviously want to be out there. But we’ll stick to the plan and trust the process.”

Kaprielian, who turns 23 on Thursday, isn’t that far behind his fellow pitchers in camp and said he “absolutely” will be on some team’s roster, ready to pitch, come April, likely High-A Tampa. He looked crisp throwing live batting practice Tuesday morning and likely will make his spring debut within the next week.

“I feel good, I’m excited with where I’m at,” Kaprielian said. “It feels easy right now.”

Sanchez goes deep

Gary Sanchez wasn’t terribly impressed with his first homer of the spring, a two-run shot in the third inning off Tigers righty Drew VerHagen that just made it over the leftfield wall.

“The wind, I think, grabbed a hold of it and helped me out,” the catcher said through his translator. “But I’ll take it.”

First hiccup

RHP Luis Cessa, the first of the five pitchers competing for the fourth and fifth rotation spots to take a second start in the competition, was not great against the Red Sox in a split-squad game in Fort Myers. He became the first of the quintet to allow a run this spring, tagged for two runs and three hits in two innings.

Sheffield, Adams debut

LHP Justus Sheffield, whom quite a few scouts felt was the real jewel of the four prospects the Yankees received in the Andrew Miller deal with the Indians, made his first appearance of the spring in a split-squad game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers. Sheffield, 20, allowed two hits and a run, it coming on a homer by Red Sox prospect Sam Travis. Chance Adams, 22, a righty whose stock shot up both in the organization and outside it with dominating efforts at High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, preceded Sheffield to the mound and pitched two scoreless innings. He allowed a hit and a walk and struck out one.

With David Lennon in Fort Myers

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