Yankees sneak positive Chase Hampton update into Athletic pitching roundup

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In predictable Yankees fashion, we learned that top prospect Chase Hampton will return soon before we ever learned what was actually wrong with him.

In late spring, Hampton -- after cracking top 100 lists and drawing acclaim as a 2024 sleeper who could help the big-league roster -- showed up as a footnote in MLB Pipeline's roundup of where their favorite prospects would begin the season. Pipeline's notation of (Injured - Shoulder Discomfort) represented the first time Yankee fans learned that something had sidelined Hampton in any capacity.

Which only made things more confusing when Hampton's issue was noted as a "UCL sprain" in mid-April. Was it a shoulder injury that caused elbow problems as Hampton's motion was compromised? Was the communication (ahem) pipeline to MLB muddied from the jump? And why hadn't there been even a single, solitary update on Hampton since the season's first month?

Have no fear, because The Athletic's Chris Kirschner is here with the biggest Hampton news since that cop didn't know Justin Timberlake. Predictably, the Yankees dropped it while Matt Blake was discussing recent pitching failures with Kirschner, because no Hampton news dump can ever legally appear in a straightforward manner.

Per the Yankees, Hampton has been throwing live BP recently, and is on track to return this season. Thank you.

Yankees' top prospect Chase Hampton will return in 2024, apparently

You can now remove Hampton as a potential 2024 wild card, if you hadn't already, but any future that does not end surgically is a relatively good one for the Yankees. If Hampton can escape 2024 unscathed and make a few contributions in the upper minors, his predicted path can resume next spring, delayed by a few months rather than thrown off course entirely.

There's no way for 2024 to be anything other than a mostly lost year, even in the most optimistic reading of Hampton's situation. But after the Texas Tech righty struck out 145 in 106.2 innings last season -- his first professional campaign! -- it's at least encouraging that he should be able to remain on the map later this summer rather than sliding entirely off it.

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