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Tag:Manny Banuelos
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:15 pm
 

Cashman: Yankees need starting pitching

Sabathia

By Evan Brunell


The Yankees are in first place and working on a four-game winning streak headed into Friday night, so things are going well in New York, but there's still plenty more to be done.

“We are a championship-caliber-contending team with areas of need that I need to work on,” general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Post. And that area isn't the lineup, which has been deep in power but has struggled in batting average or getting on base. Nope, what Cashman wants to improve is the starting rotation.

“Overall, the pitching is going to be the defining thing for us,” Cashman said. “The pitching has excelled, but it is not wise or prudent to sit back and try not to reinforce and improve on it.”

No kidding. Does anyone really think that Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova will keep up their effectiveness all season long behind CC Sabathia (pictured)?

Colon is pitching like a No. 2 pitcher, but had radical treatment for his arm that involved stem cells and can't be considered certain to continue his success, let alone ability to take the mound. Garcia, meanwhile, has his lowest ERA since 2001 and Burnett's resurgent season is a house of cards, with his peripherals indicating he's pitched about the same as his 2010 season. Nova is a rookie and looks as if he could be a back-end rotation member for a long time, but that becomes irrelevant in October.

Plus, despite the success of the rotation, the Yankees remain in the middle of the pack when it comes to starter's ERA, with a 3.83 mark. Their overall ERA is better at 3.52 thanks to a bullpen that has impressed without big contributions from Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano.

So can they get one?

"They are among a small, handful of really good and flawed teams in the American League," an AL executive with a different team said. "What they will need to be really good [starting pitching], they have the talent in a deep farm system to get. The downside, though, is the trade market is slow developing and doesn’t look very rich [in starting pitching]."

There should still be some solid pieces available in trade for starting pitching, and you never know when the next big pitcher will hit the market. Even if the team can't get a frontline No. 1 pitcher, adding a solid No. 3 would go a long way toward deepening the Yankees rotation.

Speaking of the deep farm system, the Yankees have two top pitching prospects in Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances nearing the majors. Banuelos has a 2.12 ERA in 10 starts for Double-A, while Betances has a 1.82 mark in eight starts for the same team. It seems clear these two will one day be a big part of the Yankees' rotation, but Cashman doesn't see that happening in 2011.

“They are pitching without interference and I am glad they are doing well,” he said. “I am not holding any internal conversations about dates down the road to bring them up. Actually, I am happy Garcia and Colon are pitching so well because it is allowing all of our kids at Double- and Triple-A to take their normal turns without interruption.”

Cashman also added that the Yankees have not put any feelers out to Andy Pettitte, nor has Pettitte reached out, so for New York to improve the rotation, it will either have to see Phil Hughes bounce back from his mystifying velocity issues that landed him on the DL or hit the trade market.

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Posted on: March 15, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: March 15, 2011 11:52 am
 

Pepper: Injury bug biting Brewers



By Matt Snyder


Whether it's Zack Greinke's rib injury, Yuniesky Betancourt's quad or Carlos Gomez's back, things generally haven't been feeling physically well at Brewers camp. They seem to have at least a minor malady for everyone on the team -- even two guys with an intercostal injury, which I didn't even know was a thing. Apparently they are muscles on the rib cage that help contract the chest.

Chris Dickerson is someone who has that issue. He hurt his Monday against the Giants, when he had an ugly collision with Pablo Sandoval. It wasn't exactly a Casey-level beatdown, but Dickerson seemed to have lost. The collision prompted a somewhat humorous/somewhat realistic quote from Randy Wolf.

"Thank God Sandoval lost 30 pounds or that might have been a decapitation," Wolf told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel . "I thought he dislocated his shoulder. It sounded bad."

Wolf later added he's afraid to walk to his car, and he may not have been kidding.

The Brewers can take solace in the fact that it's only spring and they haven't lost anyone for the season yet, like their division-mate Cardinals.

DREW'S MOOD HATS: Potential Nationals closer Drew Storen had struggled this spring, but put together a solid outing Monday. If you peered inside the brim of his hat, you'd have seen: "Down." "Precise." "Focus through the target." The youngster followed his own advice, setting the Tigers down in order in his one inning of work. Writing reminder messages in his hats isn't new for Storen, as he's already cycled through four this spring and has countless left from last year.

"It's kind of like a mood ring, it's a mood hat," he told the Washington Times . "I keep them all. Since there's so much going on, I'll be the first to admit, you get caught up in thinking about throwing things and try to do too much. It's just a nice, easy way to bring your mind back into it."

If a quirk like this seems weird, you've never been around a baseball locker room. In fact, this is relatively normal. Hey, whatever works.

STRASBURG PROGRESSING: Speaking of Nationals pitchers drafted in the first round in 2009, Stephen Strasburg is reportedly making good progress as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. He's now throwing 90 feet off flat ground and eyes a September return. As you might remember, he had the surgery last September and the normal recovery period is 12-18 months. But just because he has high expectations doesn't mean he's impatient.

"I have to no choice [but to be patient]. I can't just wake up the next morning expecting to get on the mound. It's a slow gradual process. It's about the slow steady progress. It has to take its time and let the body heal naturally." (MLB.com )

IN OR OUT? Luis Castillo might win the second base job for the Mets out of camp because they have no better options. But manager Terry Collins reportedly doesn't really want Castillo around -- only he hasn't officially said as much. Some believe the higher-ups on the Mets would rather Castillo start, but J.P. Ricciardi backs Brad Emaus. Basically, no one really knows what is going on. (ESPN New York )

BELTRE BACK:
Monday, Adrian Beltre made his spring debut, and it went off without a hitch. The third baseman -- who had been sidelined with a strained calf -- played five innings, going 1-3. His only issue had nothing to do with his calf and should be completely expected under the circumstances. "I felt a little bit rusty," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram .

PLAY IT AGAIN, RICH: In the least surprising news of the spring, Rich Harden needs to see a doctor. He hasn't thrown a bullpen since February 15, but felt an issue in his lat muscle Sunday and it looks like he's going to be shut down again. (MLB.com ) It's sad to say, but even at age 29, it's hard to see him ever regaining form for an extended period of time. That sparkling 2008 season -- 10-2, 2.07 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 181 K in 148 innings -- will likely go down as his best. With the kind of stuff he has, when healthy, that's a shame. UPDATE: Susan Slusser reports Harden will throw Wednesday and he hasn't suffered a setback.

WHAT IF ... : MLB Trade Rumors has put together a list of what the free agent class might look like at the end of this season if no one had signed extensions. It's worth a look for entertainment purposes.

IT'S ONLY SPRING, BUT ... : ... the Diamondbacks suck. The always-great Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic points out the Snakes would have a record of 4-13-3 if you only count the first five innings of every game this spring -- which is when the major-league starters are still in the game. Perhaps nothing could be more telling than a quote from manager Kirk Gibson: "I'm ready to be impressed, I can tell you that." Such a statement in the spring is troubling, because most of the time optimism is in the air.

BARTMAN MOVIE OUT SOON: Catching Hell , an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary about the infamous Steve Bartman foul ball (Cubs, Moises Alou, Marlins, 2003 NLCS, Game 6 ... c'mon, you know this) will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 20-May 1 in New York City. The one thing that's amazing to me in the years since that inning is how much people -- non-Cubs fans, to be specific -- seem to enjoy pointing out the loss wasn't Bartman's fault. The insinuation behind this is that all Cubs fans blame the loss on Bartman, which couldn't be further from the truth. Go talk to a group of educated Cubs fans and Alex Gonzalez's name is much more blasphemous. I'll reserve judgment on the movie until it comes out, but I can't help but think some myths are going to be further perpetuated because a few jerk fans threw things at Bartman -- which was reprehensible. In fact, expect a further rant from me on the subject when the movie is released. (Chicago Tribune )

"BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!" We've all heard it in spring training. We've all mocked it. But a sample of players the past few years who have declared they are in the best shape of their life have actually outperformed expectations more than players who didn't make such a declaration in the spring. It doesn't mean there's always merit behind the claim, but it's certainly an interesting query. (Baseball Prospectus )

THE GREEK GOD OF JOKES:
Kevin Youkilis walked and then struck out to Yankees 20-year-old prospect Manny Banuelos Monday night. So, naturally, Banuelos is a stud, right? "He's going to be a Hall of Famer," Youkilis told reporters (New York Times ). He made it clear he was kidding, but didn't want to go overboard. When he got serious about the potential phenom, he was respectful.

"He's got three pitches he can throw pretty good, now he has to learn how to pitch," said Youkilis, adding: "If he figures it out, he'll be all right. Being left-handed and throwing hard, if you throw three good pitches and you're left-handed, you don't even have to throw 90."

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 2:05 pm
 

Certain Yankees prospects are 'untouchable'

Manny Banuelos

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Despite the franchise's reputation as a mercenary of sort, the Yankees have shown a propensity to hold on to some of their top prospects under general manager Brian Cashman.

Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and even Jesus Montero have been kept instead of dealt in blockbuster deals for veteran players the past couple of years. That strategy is unlikely to change, even though the Yankees would like to upgrade their rotation.

"I have enough [trade] chips," Cashman told Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. "But if people want to demand certain bullets, those certain bullets I'm not going to shoot. … There are untouchables here."

When asked if the team's young pitchers are those untouchables, Cashman didn't exactly confirm it, but he pretty much did.

"You can figure them out," he said. "But there are certain guys. Like Phil Hughes. I said publicly I wouldn't want to trade Phil Hughes. I stopped trade discussion on Hughes on [Johan] Santana because he was a rare, special guy. And he's proven that out. He's helped us win a World Series in the bullpen, he won 18 games last year, and we have certain guys we think are potentially even better than he is. That excites us."

That's not hyperbole. Manny Banuelos (above), the left-hander celebrating his 20th birthday today, has had an incredible camp with the Yankees. In three outings and five innings, Banuelos has allowed just three hits, a walk and a hit batter, while striking out eight.

Despite standing just 5-foot-10, Banuelos can touch 95 on the radar gun and has great control with the pitch, as well as plus pitches in his curveball and changeup.

Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances (left) is nearly a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than Banuelos and also throws with the other arm. However, the Yankees are just as high on him. A hard-thrower, he doesn't have the command Banuelos has, but throws a bit harder. He also has a hammer of a curveball.

Batances has appeared in three games this spring, going 4 2/3 innings. He's allowed four hits and two runs, walking five and striking out seven.

Don't expect either to wear anything but pinstripes in the future, and if they progress like most believe they can, it would be a surprise to see them in any other uniform for a long, long time.

Those two, along with Andrew Brackman, are the only minor league pitchers left in the team's camp.

Brackman has appeared in one game, pitching an inning, allowing hit and striking out one. The 6-foot-10 Brackman was the team's first-round pick in 2007.

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 12:03 pm
 

Cashman won't rush pitching prospects

Manny Banuelos The Yankees are accused of many things -- buying titles, ruining baseball, stunting the popularity of sideburns -- but one accusation that is rarely thrust at baseball's most successful franchise is that of hurrying prospects to the big leagues.

General manager Brian Cashman doesn't want to start that trend now with their two top pitching prospects, lefty Manny Banuelos (pictured) and right-hander Dellin Betances.

"They shouldn't be caught up in our major-league problems," Cashman told the New York Post 's Joel Sherman .

So, no matter what happens with Andy Pettitte, the Yankees are hoping to start both in the minor leagues, likely Double-A, where both have made just three starts.

Banuelos won't turn 20 until March 13, but is one of the team's most valued prospects. The left-hander pitches in the 90s and can hit 95, despite standing just 5-foot-10.

Betances is older (he will be 23 in March) and taller (by nearly a foot, standing 6-8), but had surgery to reinforce an elbow ligament in 2009. Still, he came back throwing in the high-90s and has a plus-plus curveball.

Sherman notes the two could get some time in the bullpen in 2011, but it still seems a bit premature to fit either for pinstripes just yet.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 6, 2010 3:19 pm
 

Seriously, there's live baseball on tonight

Dustin Ackley
Don't tell the guys over at the college football blog I told you this, but you really don't have to watch college football today. There's actual live baseball on TV. Good baseball, even.

The Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game is on MLB Network at 9 p.m. Eastern. The Arizona Fall League is where organizations send their best prospects, and Rising Stars is essentially the AFL all-star game, so there are some serious players on the rosters. In 2010, 28 of the 50 players on last year's Rising Stars rosters played in the majors, including Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey (sorry, World Champion Buster Posey), Mike Leake and Starlin Castro.

There are 19 former first-round picks on the rosters this year, including 2009 overall No. 2 Dustin Ackley (pictured) of the Mariners and former Top 5 picks Eric Hosmer (Royals), Josh Vitters (Cubs) and Tony Sanchez (Pirates).

The scheduled starting pitchers are the Royals' Mike Montgomery and the Yankees' Manny Banuelos. If you want to check out whether any of your team's prospects are playing, complete rosters can be found here.

-- David Andriesen

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