TORONTO — Prospect James Kaprielian, who more than a few scouts think could end up in the Bronx at some point this season, is off to a promising start.
The 6-4, 200-pound righthander, selected 16th overall in last June’s draft, made his first appearance with High-A Tampa Monday night and allowed one run and three hits over five innings. He struck out nine and walked none.
“Unbelievably good,” one observer said, noting Kaprielian’s fastball that peaked at 97 mph and slider that sat at 86. “That’s the best looking young pitcher to make his (High-A) debut at Steinbrenner Field since Verlander.”
That would be Justin Verlander, who debuted for the Tiger’s High-A Lakeland club in 2005 at age 22.
The 22-year-old Kaprielian spent the first couple of weeks of spring training in big-league camp, impressing older teammates and the Yankees’ staff with his poise and mound presence. Being this year’s Luis Severino, a young prospect who rises quickly through the system and into the majors, is not out of the question.
Surgery for Rumbelow
RHP Nick Rumbelow, who broke into the majors last season and posted a 4.02 ERA in 17 appearances but struggled this spring when given a chance to win a bullpen job, will undergo Tommy John surgery Friday.
“Frustrating,” Girardi said. “We felt that he was going to help us at some point this year . . . that’s one less guy we can turn to if we have an issue.”
Secret’s in the dirt
In the offseason the Blue Jays constructed a full dirt infield at Rogers Centre, which replaced the cutouts around the bases that used to be a feature of their home stadium.
“The turf is very bouncy and then the dirt is not quite, so we had a bunch of guys taking ground balls early today to try and get used it,” Girardi said. “It’s definitely different than it was.”
The early returns after the Blue Jays’ home opening series against the Red Sox was that the infield played quicker than it had previously.