Friday, March 4th…. was the first match-up between the oldest rivals in sports, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox won 5-3, but that doesn’t matter because it is Spring Training and half the Red Sox starters didn’t make the two-hour trip to Tampa.
Still, lots to report from Yankee Camp.
It was pleasant to see the out-of-shape Bartolo Colon impress once again in his second outing. Colon isn’t likely to get the job, but he sure is keeping himself in the race.
Clearly, the most notable performance of the evening came from Yankee pitching prospect Manny Banuelos.
I have written about Banuelos on Lady Loves Pinstripes numerous times before because the 19-year-old, southpaw is that good.
Developing into a certifiable star, Banuelos displays poise, confidence and control on the mound way beyond his years. He attacks the strike zone with a fastball clocking at 95+ mph. His arsenal includes a fastball with remarkable movement; an absurd change-up and a most recently added curve-ball.
This kid is turning into the real deal, but the Yankees have to stick to a game plan this time, as Banuelos is way to precious to risk anything near a Joba Chamberlain outcome.
Yankees new catcher Russell Martin, whose knee felt great after catching for the first time against Boston, had this to say about Banuelos:
“He’s tremendous. He’s poised out there. 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.”
Martin also went on to compare Banuelos to 22-year-old Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who posted a 2.91 ERA in 32 starts in 2010.
When Girardi was asked about the possibility of promoting Banuelos in 2011, his answer left the door open. Well, nothing else could be presumed after witnessing this 5’9 kid throw like a giant. It would be a waste if he were left down in the minors all season long.
I truly hope the Yankees bring Banuelos up halfway thru the season, pending all is in order. These uber-talented prospects have proved to make huge differences for teams down the stretch and in the post season. Banuelos self-assurance reminds me of the look San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner had in the World Series last year.
Another old star trying to reclaim some glory, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning was ex-Cub and new Yankee Mark Prior.
I remember seeing Prior at Shea Stadium back in his glory days and other than Cliff Lee; I have never witnessed a better pitcher. Well, those will be forever just memories for me and for Prior, but he could be relevant in the bullpen at some point.
Also, look for Rafael Soriano to throw a live inning soon, as Soriano was absolutely nasty in his first BP session prior to the game.