Former Yankees top prospect Manny Banuelos is back, and he's pitching well
TAMPA, Fla. — Former top Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos continued his sparkling spring by throwing three shutout innings against the Blue Jays in the Yankees’ 11-3 loss on Wednesday night at Steinbrenner Field.
Bsnuelos, 31, is trying to stick after overcoming a series of arm injuries and then bouncing around for the last few years, including stints in China and Mexico. He started on Wednesday in place of Luis Severino, who was pushed back to Saturday after a bout with arm soreness.
Banuelos, who gave up two hits and struck out three, has not allowed a run or walked a batter in three outings. Banuelos returned to the Yankees as a minor-league free agent after first appearing for the club in spring training as a 19-year-old in 2011.
“I’m glad to be back,” he said. “This is very special. I’m enjoying every day I come to the ballpark. I have a lot of memories. I’m very grateful to the Yankees for giving me the opportunity to come back.”
Balkovec on mend
Yankees minor league manager Rachel Balkovec is close to making her historic debut in the dugout for Single-A Tampa after being hit in the face by a batted ball during a drill on March 22.
Balkovec, the first woman hired to manage a minor league affiliate of a Major League Baseball team, is “starting to feel better,” Kevin Reese, the Yankees vice president of player development, told reporters. “I think she’s getting close to being back on the field . . . The doctors have to sign off on some things and whatnot, but I think she’s eager to get back out there.”
Tampa, which is playing spring training games without Balkovec at the helm, opens its regular season at Lakeland on April 8.
Good times in Tampa
The Yankees held a team-building exercise in which front office executives and staff members (but not manager Aaron Boone or general manager Brian Cashman) took batting practice and did defensive drills as players watched and cheered them on.
“It was awesome,” Boone said. “I’ve had a lot of guys — players, coaches, whoever — talk about, ‘It’s one of the best things we’ve done.’ . . . I feel like our players loved it and ate it up and hopefully (it’s) something that bonds us into a little bit of more as a group, as a team, as an organization.”
Asked why he didn’t participate, the 12-year major league veteran joked, “I didn’t want to show them up. Maybe next time.”
Kay: I have COVID
YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay announced on Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was suffering symptoms of a “bad cold.” Kay is not with the team.