Manny Banuelos said on Saturday that "this is my year." After missing nearly the last two seasons because of Tommy John Surgery, Banuelos has arrived to spring training healthy and ready to fight for a spot in the Yankees' bullpen.
According to reports, the Yankees could take Banuelos to Houston with them on Opening Day as the second lefty out of the bullpen, behind Matt Thornton.
"I don't mind if it’s out of the bullpen or as a starter," he said. "I can do both. I just want to be with the team, that’s all."
Personally, I don't like that idea. I think that the Yankees would be making a much smarter decision in starting him in the minors as a starter this season. Banuelos actually projects as possibly a No. 2 or No. 3 starter down the road, so why stop that from happening?
The kid, who turns just 23 in March, has only thrown 24 innings since the 2011 season. Working him back slowly now only lets him get back into form, but it can help him develop into a very good big league starter down the road.
Rushing him back so that he can be in the bullpen as a second lefty doesn't, realistically, make the Yankees a whole lot better. Yes, it would be a good arm to have, but he doesn't the bullpen over-the-top.
Not only that, but isn't really helping his development.
So what the Yankees really need to do is start him in Triple-A. Let him get some innings under his belt as a starter. If he can't handle that -- he has yet to dominate in the upper-levels of the minors -- then you can move him to the bullpen, as they did with Dellin Betances.
Yankees links worth sharing:
* The Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez exactly ten years ago today, and there has never been a dull moment in this long-lasting marriage, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
* Masahiro Tanaka has a long way to go in transitioning from Japan to Major League Baseball, says Joel Sherman, the running just one mile was only the beginning.
* From Newsday's Erik Boland: With a handful of open spots in the Yankees' bullpen, Betances is hoping to claim one of those job openings.
* In the first couple weeks of spring training, Yankees manager Joe Girardi is mostly trying to stress patients to players before going all out to win a roster spot.
* Coming to a new setting this year, Tanaka has the eyes of not one, but two countries watching him this season, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
Today's warm-up song: "Good riddance" by Green Day. Because the Yankees really wish they could just say this to A-Rod already, tens year to this day after the acquired him from the Texas Rangers.
Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog, and you can follow him on Twitter (below).