Yankees giving 2nd chance to veteran bullpen arm who could make an impact down the stretch

Manny Bañuelos, New York Yankees

With injuries arising in the bullpen for the New York Yankees, management had to call upon a few younger options to supplement losses. David McKay and Ron Marinaccio have gotten the majority of the supplemental reps. Veteran bullpen arm Manny Banuelos is also earning himself a second chance at life in the major leagues.

Banuelos started his career with the Yankees back in 2008. He made his first MLB appearance in 2015 with the Atlanta Braves. The veteran lefty never quite managed to crack the active roster during his time wearing pinstripes, but the Yankees have given him a second chance to find his potential and make an impact during the 2022 season.

“This is huge for me. I’ve been waiting for this a long time,” the 31-year-old Banuelos said. “To pitch here in Yankee Stadium in this uniform, this is amazing. … I think everybody knows about me and what I’ve been through. It’s been a long journey, and to make this goal, it’s amazing.”

In 2019, Banuelos pitched in 50.2 innings for the Chicago White Sox, posting a 6.93 ERA. The veteran relief arm didn’t make an appearance in 2020 or 2021 but finally rejuvenated his career and joined the Bombers’ Triple-A squad in Scranton earlier this season.

His first chance at redemption:

In the Yankees’ 13–0 blowout win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday, Banuelos got his first opportunity this season to showcase his talents.

Over 2.0 innings, Banuelos give up one hit and struck out one batter over 24 pitches. He easily worked his way through Detroit’s batting order and closed in the game without any hiccups.

“Awesome. It was emotional in there,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously, most of you are aware of his story to get here. … To see him realize this later than expected but never giving up and never losing sight of this being what he wanted to do and where he wanted to do it, to see people persevere through a lot of different things is special.”

At 31 years old, Banuelos utilizes a fastball, slider, curveball, and change-up. His fastball velocity is actually the highest it’s ever been at 94.8 mph, which will undoubtedly help him make an impact this season.

With Jonathan Loáisiga dealing with shoulder discomfort and Chad Green undergoing Tommy John surgery, we should expect to see Banuelos more frequently down the line, especially if he continues to show quality.