And now your semi-annual reminder that Tropicana Field is really not fit for the playing of professional baseball games:
The Tampa Bay Rays’ second baseman hit a ball in the eighth inning of Sunday night’s game against Boston that broke a light on an overhanging catwalk down the third-base line. Parts of the light dropped to the playing surface in foul ground between third base and the Boston bullpen. No one was hit by the debris, which took around three minutes to clean up.
Three minutes in a nearly six-hour game doesn’t really make much of a difference, but man, it’s always wacky whenever we’re reminded that we have a major league ballpark that was built in such a way that it cannot properly accommodate batted baseballs.
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.