Yankees' top pitching prospect's elbow injury sounds worse than you thought

So..........why the secrecy?
New York Yankees Photo Day
New York Yankees Photo Day / New York Yankees/GettyImages

Good news: Chase Hampton might still be ready to contribute to the New York Yankees later this summer, if needed.

Bad news: Matt Blake certainly didn't sound too well informed on his injury prognosis back in late March, and you know what they say! When an important pitcher is an actual part of your second-half plans, you should know as little about his status as possible.

The Yankees are rarely forthcoming on ... anything, really, but they've been especially cagey when it comes to Hampton's injury. They never announced it at any point during the spring; instead, Hampton merely appeared once, then was revealed to be starting 2024 on the minor-league IL by an MLB Pipeline Top 100 season preview.

The dead silence surrounding the formerly buzzworthy prospect should've cued us in that something was amiss, but forgive Yankees Universe for getting caught up in the pomp and circumstance of spring training and missing out.

What, exactly, was wrong with Hampton? Why would 2024's thoeretical breakout pitcher -- aka "Mini Cole" -- have to wait on the shelf for a bit? Back in March, we were told it was "shoulder discomfort."

But ... on March 28, one day after the initial injury reveal (in an article that didn't make the rounds as loudly as it should've), Hampton's issue was called a UCL sprain. What?! Raise your hand if you're just finding out about this three-week-old news now.

Yankees breakout candidate Chase Hampton sidelined by rumored UCL sprain

Somebody put the kibosh on this news spreading real quick.

According to Blake at the time of the injury, “It sounded like [Hampton] was having a hard time when he went down to the minor league side, but I haven’t really followed up on it just because we’ve been running around in circles.” Seems like now might be a good time for somebody to follow up on it.

Hampton was reportedly shut down for four-to-six weeks, and was given a PRP injection in mid-March. Blake claimed, back then, that he didn't know if the level of concern amounted to anything beyond a few weeks.

Mid-April seems like a nice time to put the pressure on the front office to comment, especially as the Yankees' current Cole attempts to fight back from his own elbow troubles while the mini one battles in silence. Maybe May? June could be nice.

Orioles ace Kyle Bradish, who also battled a UCL injury this spring, is already on the road to recovery making rehab starts. Hampton, whose "shoulder" seems to have migrated to his elbow, has given us radio silence. Shoulders can be trickier than elbows, but just because we know how serious elbow injuries are treated doesn't mean it's comforting to find out there could be lingering trauma down there.

The Yankees should be cautious with developing, top-tier arms. There's no need to rush Hampton back. Even if healthy, he's not big-league ready.

But a little clarity would be nice. Or, sorry, "nice" isn't the word ... "essential" is more like it. A little clarity would be essential.