Banuelos making strong impression with Yanks

Banuelos making strong impression with Yanks

Banuelos making strong impression with Yanks
TAMPA, Fla. -- Manny Banuelos' confidence has captured the Yankees' attention this spring, and already the talented left-hander is earning high praise from some of his teammates.

"He has as good stuff as I've seen," said Russell Martin, who caught Banuelos' two scoreless innings against the Red Sox on Friday. "I compare it to [Clayton] Kershaw or even more polished than Kershaw, which is pretty good."

The 22-year-old Kershaw went 13-10 for the Dodgers last year, posting a 2.91 ERA in 32 starts.

Manager Joe Girardi wouldn't bite on the Kershaw comparison, but he remains impressed by what Banuelos, who turns 20 on March 13, has already done in camp.

"From looking at him where I'm standing, it doesn't look like he has any fear," Girardi said. "He's aggressive, he has confidence in his offspeed stuff that he can throw it behind in the count and he doesn't nibble. He goes right at hitters."

Banuelos allowed a hit and a walk in his outing on Friday, striking out two. He figures to open the season at Double-A Trenton, where he made three starts last year, but Martin indicated Banuelos may be ready for a more challenging assignment soon.

"He's tremendous. He's poised out there," Martin said. "You forget that he's 19 years old. He's not scared at all. He just gets the ball and throws it, whatever you put down. He actually has an idea; he's not afraid to shake off. He has a good idea how to pitch and he's only 19, but he knows how to do it."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.