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Yankees prospect James Kaprielian may be headed for surgery with elbow issue

Yankees pitcher James Kaprielian throwing in the bullpen

Yankees pitcher James Kaprielian throwing in the bullpen during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

James Kaprielian made it through three April starts last year before a strained right flexor tendon sidelined him for, as it turned out, the rest of the season.

The hard-throwing righthander, among the top pitching prospects in the Yankees system, hasn’t even made it to the mound this regular season and it doesn’t look like he’s going to.

The 23-year-old appears headed for surgery on the same elbow, though the Yankees aren’t saying anything specific about the diagnosis until the pitcher talks about his options with his family.

“You don’t bounce around the country if the surgical option isn’t on the table,” general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday. “We pointed out you can have the surgical option or try to continue to pitch through it.”

Kaprielian was to start last Friday for High-A Tampa, but three days before he complained of discomfort in his elbow and was put on the disabled list. After an MRI and dye-cast MRI and being seen by Yankees doctors, the California native asked to see the orthopedic specialist Dr. Neil ElAttrache for a second option. That appointment took place Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

“[ElAttrache] reiterated the options that he has,” Cashman said. “He agrees with what we see. So nothing new.”

Asked if this was the worst-case scenario in his mind when Kaprielian went to the DL last week, Cashman simply said, “Yeah.” He added later: “The rehab process has not been successful. So he’s facing some decisions.”

Bird better but . . .

Chris Carter started at first in place of Greg Bird, but only because the Rays started lefty Blake Snell, Joe Girardi said.

Still, Bird, whom Girardi said was available to pinch hit Wednesday, experienced swelling in his troublesome right foot as recently as Monday. The soreness has been present in varying degrees since March 30 when the 24-year-old fouled a ball off it during a preseason game.

“I think it’s just in a weird spot,” Bird said. “I think it’s just going to take time but I feel better.”

Roster doings

To make room on the 40-man roster for LHP Jordan Montgomery, RHP Johnny Barbato, who made the 2016 Opening Day roster, was designated for assignment.

New York Sports