By Matt Loughlin
Another day, another injury to a pitcher.
On Thursday, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman announced that James Kaprielian, one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, was experiencing elbow problems and would be shut down pending an MRI.
This is the same elbow that caused Kaprielian, the Bombers first round draft pick in 2015, to miss all but his first three starts last season. This article from George A. King III of the New York Post Chronicles the story.
Hopefully, for both Kaprielian and the Yankees, surgery can be avoided and the 23-year-old right-hander can resume pitching for the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League (Single A). But no one can be surprised when an announcement is made that another pitcher is being sidelined, even if it is just temporarily.
You’d be dead on if you’re thinking that there is an epidemic of pitching injuries. According to the latest report from Major League Baseball, 66 percent of the injuries listed by its 30 teams are to pitchers. That’s a lot of bodies (and a lot of dough) that is sitting on the sidelines. Click here to see the up to date Injury Report from MLB.com.
But that’s not the only issue when it comes to pitching, particularly starting pitching. Not only is the risk of injury high (see Mets: Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo, et al.) but the current strategy of limiting starters’ innings and the rush to get to the bullpen leaves Hall-of-Fame writer Bill Madden wondering how much longer MLB owners will be willing to shell out big money for the guys who only pitch every fifth day.
That issue is down the line for Mets owner Fred Wilpon when it comes to his star-studded, but hopefully not star-crossed, starting rotation, all of whom are under reasonable contracts.
The future is now for the Metropolitans and it was reassuring to Mets’ fans to see Matt Harvey pitch so well in New York’s 6-2 win over Atlanta last night. Harvey, coming off Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery that prematurely ended his season last year, consistently threw his fastball in the mid-90s as he went six and two-thirds innings in picking up his first win since May 30, 2016.
If Harvey remains healthy he will be looking for a big contract in the not-too-distant future. But as we all know, that’s a big “if”. And how “big” is big for a guy who only takes the mound once every five days?