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Yankees’ James Kaprielian says elbow injury was ‘a character test’

New York Yankees James Kaprielian works out with

New York Yankees James Kaprielian works out with the team at George M. Steinbrenner Field during Spring Training in Tampa Florida. Feb. 21, 2016 Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

TAMPA, Fla. — James Kaprielian called it a frustrating season but not a wasted one.

The righthander, rated among the Yankees’ top pitching prospects, entered 2016 thought by more than a few in the organization to have a chance to reach the big leagues by season’s end.

But after a blistering start to his minor league season with High-A Tampa, the 22-year-old was placed on the disabled list on April 25 with right elbow inflammation and has remained there since.

Kaprielian, 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his first three starts with Tampa, with 22 strikeouts and three walks in 18 innings, is slowly making his way back.

The 22-year-old threw a two-inning simulated game Tuesday morning at the club’s minor league complex and is slated to throw again Sunday. Should that go well, Kaprielian could appear in an instructional league game five or six days later. Being sent to the Arizona Fall League in October is a possibility.

“It’s still a topic of discussion,” he said. “I think we’re still trying to figure out what the official plan is. It’s a discussion right now.”

Kaprielian said when he initially went to the DL, he was given a timeline of four weeks.

“That’s not what happened, obviously,” he said. “But that’s part of it. Some things are out of your control. It just took a little longer than we had all hoped, but I think the most important thing is I’m in good health right now and I feel well. Just looking forward to staying on the mound hopefully.”

Despite the disappointing season, Kaprielian doesn’t look at it as a total loss.

“I don’t just call this year a wash,” he said. “This year I learned a lot, and for me this is a big character test. Being able to wake up and be stuck here in Tampa a little bit and continue to be diligent about my rehab and still take care of my body and battle these frustrations. I think it’s a huge character test. I think in the long run this is going to help me in my career.”

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