Mitchell, Yanks pleased with righty's first start

Prospect Kaprielian also lauded for solid spring debut

Mitchell, Yanks pleased with righty's first start

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Right-hander Bryan Mitchell struck out two over two hitless innings in his first Grapefruit League outing as the Yankees lost to the Tigers, 3-0, at Joker Marchant Stadium on Friday.

Mitchell threw 25 pitches, 12 for strikes, walked one and hit a batter.

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Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer off Vinnie Pestano in the third inning. Bryan Holaday had the Tigers' only other hit -- a double off right hander Luis Cessa.

Mitchell's best bet to make the Yankees would likely be as a long reliever, but he said this early in spring he's trying not to do too much.

"I was just trying to locate pitches and be efficient," said Mitchell, ranked the Yanks' No. 26 prospect by "I feel like I'm always here to prove something, but I'm trying not to think too much right now. Just get in a good rhythm and throw strikes."

Mitchell pitched out of the bullpen last season when he was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 19 and said it's taken some time to adjust to the role.

"It was a little different at first," Mitchell said. "Obviously I've been starting my whole Minor League career, but once I did it a few times, I got adjusted. It was a little bit of a different routine, but I got comfortable with it."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he was pleased with Mitchell's work and he wants him to continue to improve.

"The ability is there," Girardi said. "Last year's role was a tough role because there was a lot of days in between him pitching. The idea [this spring] is to get him on track. He has three or four pitches. His cutter was good [Friday]."

Kaprielian has clean outing

Right-hander James Kaprielian pitched two hitless innings and struck out two in his spring debut. The 16th overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Kaprielian looked comfortable facing big league hitters and ended his first inning by striking out Ian Kinsler after falling behind 2-0 in the count.

Kaprielian -- ranked by as the club's No. 4 prospect -- hit 96 mph on the radar with his fastball during the at-bat and struck Kinsler out on a 93-mph fastball.

"I just [wanted to] give them a better look at who I am, and what I stand for, and what I'm about," Kaprielian said. "Obviously, I'm not fighting for a starting spot in the rotation right now. I just want to go out there and compete like I am and show up every day and learn from the other guys and compete with them."

Girardi said he was interested in seeing Kaprielian against the Tigers and he was happy with what he saw.

"He got behind the first hitter 2-0 and comes back, next inning he gets behind the hitter 2-0 and comes back," Girardi said. "I thought he threw the ball really well. He's pretty mature for his age and he looked very mature out there. He has confidence in himself and he knows what he wants to do out there. I think he loves to compete."

Kaprielian's only regret was being unable to face Cabrera.

"That's the one guy I wanted to face and didn't get to," Kaprielian said with a smile. "I had a little game plan and everything."

Corey Long is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.