NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Left-handed pitcher Manny Banuelos, rated the Yankees’ preseason No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, will have Tommy John surgery on October 4, general manager Brian Cashman confirmed to The Trentonian on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old has not pitched since May 18 after suffering a bone bruise in his left elbow, and was officially shut down for the season in early August.
A participant in the All-Star Futures Game in 2009, Banuelos received the highest praise a pitcher can possibly imagine after dazzling hitters in Spring Training in 2011. Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer ever to step on a mound, called the fireballer the best pitching prospect he’s ever seen.
He was rewarded for his performance that year by receiving the James P. Dawson Award, which is given to the best rookie in camp.
Cashman said that if he knew the Durango, Mexico native needed the surgery earlier, the organization obviously would have acted on it. He maintains that the need for the procedure only became known recently.
“If we knew he’d needed Tommy John surgery a year ago, he’d have done it a year ago,” Cashman told Josh Norris of The Trentonian.
Banuelos took a step back at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, surrendering six runs on 14 hits and six walks in just 5 1/3 innings pitched over his first two starts. Overall, in 24 innings pitched spanning six starts, the five-foot-11, 200 pounder finished 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He recorded 22 strikeouts to 10 walks.
Tough break for Banuelos, who will hopefully be a fixture in the Bombers’ rotation for years to come. Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…