BALTIMORE -- Yankees top pitching prospect James Kaprielian has been placed on the Minor League disabled list with a recurrence of pain in his right elbow, and he will cross the country to have more evaluations performed next week.
The Yankees said that Kaprielian had an MRI exam and a dye contrast MRI on Friday in Tampa, Fla., where he was seen by team orthopedist Dr. Daniel Murphy. The imaging results were shared with head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad, and Kaprielian is scheduled to receive further evaluation and consultation by Dr. Neil ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
"It's not what you want to hear, because we believe the upside to this kid is really high," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've seen when he's healthy how well he's pitched, and you don't want to see setbacks. So the news we got that he obviously has to see the doctor is not the news you want to hear, but you keep your fingers crossed."
Kaprielian is New York's No. 6 prospect and the No. 56 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. The club's first selection in the 2015 Draft, Kaprielian had been slated to begin the season with Class A Tampa.
Elbow discomfort is nothing new for Kaprielian, who missed most of last season with a right flexor tendon strain. Kaprielian, 23, has made just 14 professional appearances since being selected 16th overall two years ago.
"I think it's troubling that it's the second year and then it came back," Girardi said.
Kaprielian went 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts for Tampa in 2016, then pitched to a 4.33 ERA in seven starts in the Arizona Fall League. He threw two scoreless innings in Major League camp this spring, striking out three, and had garnered speculation that the Yankees might fast-track him to the big leagues later this season if healthy.
"That's the goal. I think I can help this team," Kaprielian said in March. "Obviously, I need to stay healthy, but at the end of the day, regardless of where I am, I need to be able to pitch and throw strikes and give my team an opportunity to win."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.