Whether or not there's any shot of Manny Banuelos pitching for the Yankees this season, he was impressive Monday night in 2 2/3 scoreless innings against an Opening Day-caliber Red Sox lineup.
"Yeah, I do. I think I'm ready," a confident Banuelos said afterward at City of Palms Park. "Just get a little bit better [at] things and I'm ready."
Making a spot start for the injured Sergio Mitre, Banuelos showed his stuff with a pair of strikeouts -- Carl Crawford in the first inning on a fastball and Kevin Youkilis in the third inning on a changeup, the latter coming on his 53rd and final pitch of the night. Banuelos threw 28 strikes and gave up two hits and three walks, working out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second. The walks were his lone blemish.
2010 Spring Training - null
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"It's the first time he walked a few guys. There could have been a little bit [of nerves] there," manager Joe Girardi said. "But I thought he handled it well. I think he has three quality pitches, and he can locate his fastball. The command has to get better, and I think it'll continue to get better."
Asked again before the game if there was a chance that Banuelos could break camp with the Yankees, Cashman was again firm.
"He's not making this team," he said.
Well, he was mostly firm.
"We always have the right to change our minds," Cashman said. "But I don't mean to open a can of worms in saying that there's a chance that he's going to be pitching for us."
Banuelos, who wasn't nervous about facing a powerful Boston lineup, returned to the clubhouse to find about 10 text messages waiting for him, and he said his family in Mexico was watching the game on TV.
"It was a big day," said Banuelos. "My last time when I faced Boston, it was different. Today, it was the big league hitters. I thought a lot about this game. It's a good team. That was good for me."
The whole spring has been good. In 7 2/3 innings this spring, Banuelos has not allowed a run.
"Let's put it this way: probably most people couldn't pronounce his name before camp," Cashman said. "I think everybody pronounces it now accurately."