Expecting to miss the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery during spring training, Adam Wainwright has progressed far enough in his recovery that the Cardinals right-hander is now hoping to pitch in 2011.
“My modest goal is try to talk them into letting me play on the playoff roster in October,” Wainwright told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, although he realistically pegged the chances of that happening as “probably bad.”
Tommy John surgery typically comes with a recovery timetable of 12-18 months, meaning Wainwright is no sure thing to be fully healthy by Opening Day of next season, let alone this October.
Of course, as Hummel points out one reason for Wainwright wanting to make such a speedy comeback is that his $9 million option for 2012 and $13 million option for 2013 would vest if he’s on the active roster at the end of this season. In other words, it ain’t happening.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.