The Yankees had to make a “difficult” roster decision on Tuesday to make room for spot starter JP Sears.
Reliever Manny Banuelos was the roster casualty, as the team designated him for assignment.
In four appearances out of the Yankees’ bullpen, Banuelos tossed 8 1/3 innings, while allowing two runs and striking out eight batters. He also held lefties to an anemic .143 opposing average. The 31-year-old posted a 2.16 ERA and recorded his first career MLB save against the Chicago Cubs on June 12 after pitching the final three innings of a blowout victory for his club.
After spending time in several major league systems, and pitching in the Mexican League and Chinese League, Banuelos found himself making his Yankees debut 14 years after he was first signed by New York out of the Mexican League in 2008.
“Difficult,” manager Aaron Boone said of the decision to DFA Banuelos. “Obviously a numbers game crunch. One of the things that made it difficult on top of who the person is and the story is how much it's been a joy to be around him every day and what he's brought to the field every day.”
Admittedly, Boone has been very impressed with the veteran left-hander. The Yankees’ skipper firmly believes Banuelos can pitch and would still have a spot if not for the team’s very deep and talented staff.
“We really think that he can pitch,” Boone said. “He hasn't gotten a lot of opportunities, but that's partly because we've pitched well to where he's always our protection every day to give us length, and we just haven't had a lot of situations for that.
“In some situations, you might go to another guy because you're saving him in case you get in a situation. So that's been a little bit tough. But he can pitch. He earned his way here. He was on the outskirts going into spring training and opened up everyone's eyes.”
Banuelos will have to clear waivers in order to stick with the Yankees organization, and while his skipper sees him as deserving of a shot to pitch in the big-leagues, he “selfishly” hopes they find a way to keep him around as a depth option in the minors.
“We certainly hope the best for Manny,” Boone said. “Selfishly, I hope he remains with us, but you certainly understand this situation and the process.”
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