Yankees' Manny Banuelos hopes to take advantage of second chance
TAMPA, Fla. — Manny Banuelos is not the seed-throwing, top-of-the-line prospect he once was, when the 19-year-old lefthander made up one-third of the Yankees’ much-hyped “Killer Bs” a decade-plus ago.
(Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman were the other two-thirds.)
But Banuelos, now 31 and in camp on the minor-league deal he signed in January, sees an opportunity that a rash of injuries denied him back then: a chance to pitch in the big leagues as a member of the Yankees, the team that took him as a non-drafted free agent in 2008.
“It’s a special moment for me,” Banuelos said after pitching a 1-2-3, 12-pitch sixth inning Sunday in the Yankees’ 8-7 loss to the Tigers at Steinbrenner Field. “It’s my first time pitching in the pinstripes uniform. Before I just pitched with the blue jersey.”
(Banuelos, who had an at times electric spring training in 2011 as an invitee to big-league camp, appeared only in road games that year, hence the blue jersey.)
“I’m very excited, really happy,” said Banuelos, whose fastball sat in the range of 92 to 95 mph Sunday. “I keep saying this, I feel like I came back home. To be here, it’s special.”
Banuelos, who because of injuries did not make his big-league debut until 2015 with Atlanta, hopes to show he is healthy enough to at the very least be stored at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as bullpen or starter depth, depending on how he’s built up.
Banuelos has appeared in only 42 major league games, the last coming in 2019, when he was with the White Sox.
“I feel really, really strong,” he said. “My arm is healthy.”
More depth added
The Yankees signed infielder-outfielder Marwin Gonzalez, a member of the 2017 Astros team that won the World Series, to a minor-league deal, pending a physical.