Yankees: Matt Harvey Has Some Sage Advice For James Kaprielian

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees and their cross-town rivals, the New York Mets, rarely have reason to bond together with a single goal in mind. But that’s what’s happened between two pitchers who are struggling to come back from injury.

Yankees starting pitcher to be, James Kaprielian, has been described in this column as a racehorse biting at the bit as he attempts to bounce back from an injury and straighten the wheels on a career that has yet to take flight.

Realizing that they have a stud on their hands, the Yankees are taking a super cautious approach with Kaprielian this spring that reins him in with hopes of eliminating any aggravation of his injury that would reset his development back to the starting gate. To his credit, Kaprielian is not making any serious waves and is complying with the team’s plans for him.

On the other side of town are the Mets, whose handling of injuries, especially those that touch their pitchers, can only be described as “curious.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of town are the Mets, whose handling of injuries, especially those that touch their pitchers, can only be described as “curious.” Zach Wheeler, for instance, is now in his second year of trying to re-crack the Mets starting rotation, only to slide back with successive setbacks along the way.

And the glut of injuries that hit their staff last season is not a coincidence, nor is it automatically the result of extra work the previous year when they challenged the Royals for a World Series title.

Former Mets phenom, Matt Harvey, stands alone as he prepares to come back from two successive seasons filled only with serious injury and disappointment. Soon to be 28, Harvey’s career won-lost record is only a very pedestrian 29-28. His career now reaches a crossroad that will determine his future.

Once very brash and at times excessively immature, Harvey seemingly has been humbled by the trainwreck that has befallen him and is working extra hard to battle his body, and more importantly perhaps, his mind so he can get back on his career path to stardom.

Along the way to that recovery, this past winter Harvey found himself training in the same place as James Kaprielian. And in a compelling story written by Dan Martin of the New York Post, Martin describes a bond that developed between the two pitchers as they prepared for the 2017 season.

Located in Southern California, the facility is a perk that Scott Boras provides for his clients and features state of the art equipment and amenities.

According to Martin, Harvey and Kaprielian talked while they worked. And the talk was not only about pitching, and often the exchange covered other aspects of a baseball life:

"“With his talent, the sky’s the limit,” Harvey said of Kaprielian, who was drafted 16th overall by the Yankees out of UCLA in 2015. “I told him not to go into New York and jump into everything and to learn from the guys in the clubhouse. Ask questions. He has my number.”"

Not quite the wise old man speaking, but close enough and Harvey apparently relished the idea of mentoring his crosstown rival offering:

"“We worked out in January, and it seemed like he was pushing hard,” said Harvey, who turns 28 this month. “He’s so strong and athletic, he can go and go. I kept telling him just take it slow. It’s a long season.”"

Yes, it’s a very long season, and no one knows that better than Matt Harvey. And Mets fans will recall that it was Harvey who consistently made back page news in the New York Media while banging on the door of Mets manager, Terry Collins, pleading for a chance to travel and train with the team in 2014 when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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Eventually, he wore out the Mets and most of the Mets fan base. But there is a lesson to be learned for James Kaprielian. Because while race horses want to run and pitchers want to pitch, it’s not always the wisest path to follow. And it can’t be necessarily described as a damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenario for the team.

The Yankees Are Reining In Their Stud

The easy decision for the Yankees now would be to follow the path of the Mets by listening to Kaprielian’s “I’m ready!” pleas and turn their stud loose. But if they’ve caught wind of the story in the Post, the Yankees are more than likely driving their stake further in the ground with Kaprielian. Because Matt Harvey is offering them both some sage advice.

As for Kaprielian, he’s only 23, and he has at least the next decade ahead of him to pitch in the major leagues and for his team of choice, the Yankees.

Slow down, young man. Your time is coming. But at the same time, don’t lose that drive and intensity that seems to envelop your makeup. Because the Yankees need another Andy Pettitte type bulldog and you just might fit the bill.