Yankees pitching prospect James Kaprielian is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery next Tuesday, the Yankees announced late Thursday morning.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who is the Dodgers team doctor.
"Clearly you don't bounce around the country if the surgical option isn't on the table," Cashman said Wednesday.
Kaprielian, 23, was limited to just 18 innings last season because of a right flexor strain.
Rated as the Yankees' No.9 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, Kaprielian was able to make just three starts with Class A Tampa, striking out 22 batters while walking three.
Kaprielian, who was the Yankees' first round pick (16th overall) in the 2015 MLB Draft, also spent time pitching in the Arizona Fall League last season, where he sat in the mid-90s while reaching 97mph with his fastball.
"I want to be a No. 1. I want to be the guy and I want the ball," he said in January. "I'm a competitor. I'm not going to go out of my way [to announce that] unless you ask me, but, yeah, I want the ball. I want to be the guy. I want to be the ace. There's a lot of guys in our organization who are like that."
Though surgery is always the last option, and it seemed that the issue with Kaprielian's elbow continued to rear its ugly head, when it becomes official it feels like a solid blow to the gut.
The Yankees have built a deep farm system with Kaprielian the pitching gem. Despite the Yankees' best efforts to coddle the right-hander (until a spring training appearance that was not supposed to happen), Kaprielian couldn't overcome the physical limits of his body.
The uncertainty of Kaprielian's recuperation from the surgery and whether or not he can be the same pitcher as the expectations that were placed on him will linger for the next 12 to 18 months. Kaprielian will likely be brought along slowly considering how the Yankees have mostly handled him thus far, which means the entirety of his 2018 season could be in jeopardy as well.
In the end, the surgery is the best thing for Kaprielian after unsuccessful efforts to avoid it. Plenty of pitchers come back strong from the surgery and whether he is pitching at the end of his age-24 season, or the beginning of his age-25 campaign, Kaprielian will be young enough to still be considered a difference maker for the Yankees.
The fast track to the majors for Kaprielian has been closed and the road to recovery begins on April 18.