Yankees Top Pitching Prospect Kaprielian To Have Tommy John Surgery

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The worst-case scenario for the Yankees’ top pitching prospect has been realized.

The team announced Thursday that right-hander James Kaprielian will undergo Tommy John elbow surgery, sidelining him until 2018.

The surgery will be performed Tuesday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the team said.

Kaprielian was placed on the minor-league disabled list on April 6 with elbow pain. He made the decision to undergo the surgery after receiving a second opinion and consulting with his family and agent.

James Kaprielian

Yankees pitching prospect James Kaprielian (Photo by /Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It’s a big blow to the career of the 2015 first-round pick, who played in just three minor-league games last season due to a flexor tendon injury.

“I’m very concerned with the fact that this has gone on since last April,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said last weekend.

The 23-year-old pitched in one Grapefruit League game this season, working two scoreless innings in relief. He was set to start this season with the Class-A Advanced Tampa Yankees, for whom he played last year.

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Baseball America ranks Kaprielian as the No. 87 prospect in baseball and fifth in the Yankees organization.

The Yankees hoped that if he could have stayed healthy this season, Kaprielian could have began a rapid ascension through the minors.

“Oh my goodness, he is really talented,” manager Joe Girardi told WFAN’s Mike Francesa last week. “He was a guy that we feel when he pitches and stays healthy, he’s going to move quickly. I mean, that’s how talented he is.”

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