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Top Yankees pitching prospect Banuelos needs Tommy John surgery


The Yankees want to cut payroll to about $189 million by 2014 to avoid luxury tax payments and one way to do it is to go young in their rotation. That theory got quite a bit tougher today.

In a surprising bit of news out of the Bronx, the team announced that 21-year-old left-hander Manny Banuelos (above) -- considered a likely member of that '14 rotation -- is going to need Tommy John surgery and will be out all of next season.

It's thus hard to imagine Banuelos having much impact at the big-league level until 2015. He was 0-2, 4.50 this year at Scranton before getting shut down in mid-May. At the time, the Yankees said his elbow trouble was not serious, but Banuelos never returned to the mound and an approach of rest and rehab has not worked.

Banuelos started for Scranton against the Bisons in the second home game of the season on April 12 in Coca-Cola Field and had a disastrous outing. In two innings, he gave up three hits and walked six (but somehow only gave up two runs). He threw just 36 of his 74 pitches for strikes on a 49-degree afternoon but got a no-decision in a 7-2 Scranton win.

Banuelos and 6-foot-8 Dellin Betances were expected to anchor the Scranton rotation and punch their tickets to New York soon. But Banuelos got hurt and Betances ended up back at Double-A Trenton after blowing up in Scranton and pitched poorly in both places (3-5, 6.39 at Scranton, 3-4, 6.51 at Trenton). Betances is trying to get himself together this month for Scottsdale of the Arizona Fall League.

Oddly enough, Betances was a disaster in Buffalo the day before Banuelos -- allowing eight runs on seven hits and walking six in 3 1/3 innings in the Bisons' 12-3 win in the home opener on April 11. Yankees fans here sure didn't see much from the Bombers' key pitching prospects in 2011.

---Mike Harrington
Twitter: @BNHarrington 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |