Red Sox fans have to root for the Yankees, right?

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We’ve talked about the strange rooting interests that crop up late in the season. The unbalanced schedule means that the odds are great that fans of one team will have to root for fans of a division rival.

But not everyone feels that way. This AP report set out to find some Boston fans and to ask them whether they’re doing what logic suggests is wise: root for the Yankees over the Rays this week. The answer is not a unanimous one:

“Absolutely not. Anybody that’s going to beat the Yankees, I don’t care,” said Pat Smith, a plumber from Cambridge who watched the Red Sox lose to the Orioles on Monday afternoon — their 12th loss in 15 games. “Even if it hurts the Sox. You never root for the Yankees. I’m sorry. I don’t care” … “You’ve got to root for the Rays,” said Ted Sellars, a grocery manager from the Boston area. “You can’t root for the Yankees. Ever! Ever! Ever!”

I suppose rooting for a rival is hard. And it can make you ashamed of yourself if things don’t work out (see, me last night, rooting for Roy Halladay to beat the Cardinals and then feeling dirty about it when he lost).  But man, how do you not hope against hope that the Rays lose this week?  Even if you’re a plumber from Cambridge?

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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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.