Yankees giving veteran bullpen arm a second chance at life in Major League Baseball

Manny Bañuelos, New York Yankees

All the injuries that the New York Yankees‘ roster didn’t suffer in the first few weeks of the season have accumulated in the last week. First, it was Chad Green who complained about forearm tightness, and he ended up needing Tommy John surgery. Then Aroldis Chapman went to the injured list with an Achilles problem, and Jonathan Loaisiga joined them with shoulder discomfort on Wednesday. It has been a nightmarish week in the Bronx.

The situation has created several needs for healthy, effective arms in the major league roster. That’s why we saw rookie JP Sears starting on Wednesday, and that’s why the Yankees are bringing up a longtime friend to help in the bullpen.

The Yankees signed left-handed pitcher Manny Bañuelos to a Major League contract and selected him to the 26-man roster from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the team informed.

A former top prospect in the Yankees system

As you may recall, Banuelos was a top prospect in the Yankees system in the early 2010s, but injuries and underperformance derailed his career. He was traded in 2015, when he made his MLB debut with the Atlanta Braves. The Los Angeles Angels, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Chicago White Sox all tried to salvage his career, without much success.

The last time he pitched for an MLB organization was in 2019, when he had a 6.93 ERA in 50.2 innings with the Pale Hose.

But the Yankees brought him home in 2022, and he was pitching very well in Triple-A: in 30.2 innings in Scranton, he had a 2.35 ERA and a 2.88 FIP, with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts.

If anyone can help Banuelos have a role in an MLB organization, it’s the Yankees, with Sam Briend and Matt Blake giving him all the resources he may need to succeed. At this point, at 31 years old, expectations should be much, much lower than those years in which he was a can’t miss prospect, but if he can be a reliable reliever, the club will be more than happy.

Banuelos, with a career 6.31 ERA in 77 MLB innings, is eager to take advantage of his second chance.