- Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com
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Manny Banuelos, the New York Yankees' top pitching prospect, will undergo Tommy John surgery and not pitch at all next season.
With Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner choosing to reduce payroll by 10 percent in 2014, this will make the plan more difficult to implement. Steinbrenner and the Yankees' hopes were that Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Michael Pineda could provide young, affordable and strong starting pitching by the 2014 season.
Banuelos was shut down in May at Triple-A and never returned to action. The 21-year-old left-hander finished the season 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts.
"He is out for the year," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday. The Trentonian of New Jersey initially reported that Banuelos would need the reconstructive surgery on his elbow.
After diagnosing Banuelos with a sore elbow in May, the Yankees spent considerable time trying to determine the extent of the injury. Many times throughout the process they believed he could pitch again and would pitch in winter ball. After failed rehab after failed rehab, however, they decided Banuelos needed to have the surgery.
"It is a fact," Cashman said, when asked about his level of disappointment. "You have to deal with it. This will hopefully solve (the problem) this year."
In the spring of 2011, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera told ESPN New York that Banuelos was the most impressive pitching prospect -- along with former No. 1 overall pick Brien Taylor -- that he had ever seen. This spring, Banuelos' performance disappointed Yankees officials and he was shuttled out of major league camp quickly.
Meanwhile, Betances struggled so much with his control that he was demoted from Triple-A to Double-A. Betances ended the year with a diagnosis of shoulder tendinitis, and Pineda missed the entire season due to shoulder surgery. The Yankees are hopeful that Pineda, an All-Star last season, could be a starter with the Yankees by next year.
When asked Monday about the young pitching that was supposed to assist the Yankees' chances of lowering their payroll by 2014 to take advantage of the new collective bargaining agreement's luxury-tax savings, Steinbrenner mentioned that pitcher David Phelps has become an option. With the AL East title still at stake with two regular-season games to go, Phelps is scheduled to start Tuesday night against the Red Sox.
2hAdam Lewis, Special to ESPN.com