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Yankees Trade Manny Bañuelos to Pirates

Bañuelos ended up making four appearances with the Yankees this season before he was designated for assignment a few days ago.

The Yankees have traded left-hander Manny Bañuelos to the Pirates for cash considerations, the team announced on Sunday.

Bañuelos was designated for assignment last week, making room on the active roster for lefty JP Sears, who made a spot start against the A's at Yankee Stadium.

Since then, there's been a lot of movement in the bullpen for the Yankees. Sears was replaced with veteran right-hander Ryan Weber. Then, Aroldis Chapman returned from the injured list, taking a spot made available by Miguel Castro's trip to the paternity list. 

On Sunday, New York placed right-hander Ron Marinaccio on the injured list with shoulder inflammation, calling Sears back up to the big-league club from Triple-A. 

Bañuelos, 31, pitched well in limited opportunities with the Yankees this season. The southpaw had a 2.16 ERA over four appearances, allowing two runs to score while striking out eight batters over 8.1 innings of work. 

More remarkable than his numbers, however, was Bañuelos' journey leading up to his Yankee debut in 2022. The left-hander was New York's top prospect a decade ago, but injuries derailed his meteoric rise through the Yankees' farm system. He was later traded to the Braves, but couldn't stick around at the big-league level, bouncing around in the minor leagues, pitching in other countries to keep his dreams alive.

This spring, Bañuelos was invited to Yankees camp and he opened eyes, nearly earning a spot on the club's Opening Day roster. He was then called up from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 26, completing his odyssey to pinstripes when he pitched at Yankee Stadium on June 4.

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Speaking about Bañuelos after he was designated for assignment, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said it was a "difficult" decision to cut ties with the reliever. 

“Obviously a numbers game crunch," Boone said. "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.” 

Now, Bañuelos' next big-league outing may come against his former team. New York is scheduled to play two games against the Pirates in Pittsburgh after an off day on July 4.

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