James Kaprielian’s emotional journey to becoming Oakland A’s pitcher

Sports

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Oakland A’s pitcher, James Kaprilion has had a fantastic start to his season.

He’s 2-0 in 3 starts and is proving that he can be a reliable arm on a team with high expectations.

And if you knew everything he’s been through to get to this point — you understand….pitching?

Well, that’s the easy part…..

“The mind is something that I’ve learned is the strongest muscle for sure,” James said.

Mental fortitude. That is what got James Kaprillion to this point, hugging his father at Fenway park after his first career start and win.

“There were times where I didn’t think it was necessarily going to turn out the way I wanted to. And to me, I am very fortunate enough to have people standing in my corner to encourage me and keep me on the track I want to be on, and when I do swerve off a little they put me back on line,” James said.

That game at Fenway was the culmination of a long, trying journey for James.

In 2014, while he was in the midst of a standout career at UCLA, he lost his mother Barbera, after a 14 year battle with breast cancer.

She was his biggest fan and rarely missed a game.

“He would look up at his mom and gather strength recognizing all of the trials and tribulations she’s been through in her life. And it suddenly made the task in hand a little less daunting. He realized I am playing a game here,” James’ dad Doug K said.

James carried on with his mother’s memory in his heart. He was drafted in the first round to the New York Yankees.

But then he started to experience elbow pain. He decided to get Tommy John surgery.

“It was frustrating because, one, I am a competitor and don’t belong on the training table. I belong on the field with the guys and want to be able to compete,” James said.

He got that chance – let’s go back to Fenway – fitting for his James, it got off to a rocky start. But as always, he dug deep and fought. Pops in the stands, mom in his heart.

“I did notice that he was looking in my direction, and I think it had something to do with the fact that he was sitting in the same area that we would have been in his UCLA days or high school. Maybe that gave him some extra strength that his mom was there and he could battle through this,,” Doug said.

“We got that first win, and it’s a proud moment because he seen how hard those other moments were for me,” James said.

James has now settled in. He’s started two games since and has shown he is here to stay.

“This little stigma that was here. That’s behind him now. He’s moving forward. He’s not looking in the rear view mirror,” James said.

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