- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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The New York Yankees' top pitching prospect, Manny Banuelos, will not pitch again this year after throwing in six games all season, the team's vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman told ESPN New York on Monday.
"He's not going to be back this season," Newman said.
The left-handed Banuelos, rated the Yankees' No. 1 prospect by ESPN's Keith Law prior to the season, has been out of action since the middle of May with what Newman described as a bone bruise in his left elbow.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman previously had stated that he thought Banuelos, 21, would return this season because of the progress the team's doctors had seen.
But Banuelos is being shut down for the rest of the season with the hope that he can play in Winter Ball and then be ready for spring training next year. Newman said doctors don't think that Banuelos will need surgery. The Yankees are unsure how the original injury occurred.
"That's a good question," Newman said.
During spring training in 2011, none other than Mariano Rivera told ESPN New York that Banuelos was the best pitching prospect that he had ever seen in Yankee camp. The only comparable prospect, according to Rivera, was former No. 1 pick Brien Taylor.
However, 2012 has not been as kind to Banuelos. After being wild in his spring-training outings, he was banished from major league camp early. At Triple-A, he began slowly, walking seven in his first two starts (5 1/3 innings).
Banuelos picked it up soon after, not walking any in his next three starts and allowing just one run over 14 2/3 innings. In his final start of the year, he only pitched four innings, walking three and giving up five runs. Overall, Banuelos was 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA.
If Banuelos had conquered Triple-A this year, he may have had an opportunity to compete for the No. 5 job in the rotation next spring if the Yankees were to have an opening. Now, if healthy, he surely will have to start at Triple-A in 2013.
"He'll recover from this," Newman said. "That's what our doctors say. We have no doubt about it. At this point, there is no reason to push it. We are trying to be as prepared as we can for next season."
New York's other top pitching prospect entering the season, Dellin Betances, has not been hurt but has struggled with his command, forcing the Yankees to demote him to Double-A earlier in the campaign. The 6-foot-8 Betances is 5-6 with a 5.87 ERA overall and has struck out 71 with 59 walks in 114 1/3 innings.
"He's up and down," Newman said. "He is still working on consistency."
The Yankees' top outfield prospect, Mason Williams, also had his season end recently when he tore the labrum in his left shoulder.
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