Yanks consider using Banuelos down stretch

Yanks consider using Banuelos down stretch

CHICAGO -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman decided against dealing his top prospects in July because he didn't want to mortgage the club's future. On Tuesday, part of that future debuted at Triple-A.

And it was a sign that he could make an impact on the present.

Manny Banuelos, the No. 2 prospect on the Yankees and the No. 16 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, made his first start for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Tuesday night, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out eight in five innings. After posting a 3.59 ERA while striking out 94 batters and walking 52 in 95 1/3 innings at Double-A, the 20-year-old left-hander was promoted to the highest level of the Yankees' farm system.

Manager Joe Girardi can envision Banuelos helping the Yankees down the stretch, too.

"Sure," Girardi said when posed the question prior to facing the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. "We're looking at everyone and anyone who we feel that can help us down these last 50 or whatever games we have left. He's got a chance to go to Triple-A tonight, and let's see how he does."

The 5-foot-11 Banuelos is said to have three plus pitches -- a fastball, a breaking ball and a changeup -- and has put that on display since being signed as an amateur free agent in 2008.

In Spring Training, Banuelos posted a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 Grapefruit League innings and garnered some attention while hurling 2 1/3 scoreless frames in a nationally televised start against the Red Sox.

Then, in July, Banuelos was rumored to be discussed as part of a package for former Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, but Cashman didn't budge.

If Banuelos were to join the Yankees, it would most likely be as a reliever. Girardi said if that were the case, he'd ease the lefty in by having him start innings only, like he did with Hector Noesi earlier this season.

But Girardi was careful not to get ahead of himself.

"Let's see how he does in Triple-A," Girardi said. "You never know what our needs are going to be. That's the thing."