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A’s injuries: James Kaprielian makes first rehab start in minors

Right-hander has a successful outing as he works toward returning to MLB

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s are off to an unexpectedly nice start this season, and some help could still be on the way from the injured list.

Pitcher James Kaprielian, who missed the spring and the beginning of the season due to shoulder irritation, made his first minor league rehab start on Friday. The right-hander threw five innings for the Low-A Stockton Ports, against the Modesto Nuts of the Mariners farm system.

  • Kaprielian, Friday: 5 ip, 2 runs, 6 Ks, 0 BB, 2 HR, 3 hits, 52 pitches

The final box score isn’t necessarily the important part, though it’s nice to see some quality numbers there. The high strikeouts, no walks, and efficient pitch count are especially encouraging for what is effectively his first live action since last summer.

Even better were the reports afterward. Ports broadcaster Alex Jensen says Kap’s velocity topped out at 96 mph while sitting in the 92-95 range, which is about right for him. A’s manager Mark Kotsay was impressed with the outing but stressed patience, per Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle:

James Kaprielian’s rehab outing at Stockton went “really well,” Mark Kotsay said. A’s will see how he feels today. Kotsay didn’t specify if the A’s want another rehab outing for Kaprielian but said: “This is a long-term approach as opposed to a short-term” with his return.

The original prognosis was that Kaprielian would likely miss most of April, and that still seems a fair bet considering we’re now halfway through the month. Whatever the precise timetable turns out to be, this latest news provides cautious optimism that his progress is going well and that he could be back in Oakland’s rotation sooner than later.

Here’s the updated injury report: