Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos to have Tommy John surgery

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Yankees farmhand Manny Banuelos was ranked by Baseball America as the 29th prospect in all of baseball last winter. This year, however, he was limited to six starts and was shut down in early August due to an elbow injury. While the Yankees had hoped that the shutdown would fix all that ailed him, Brian Cashman just announced that Banuelos will have Tommy John surgery on Thursday.

That’ll put him in dry dock until 2014. Which, combined with the almost nothing he did this year means that he’s lost almost two full seasons. It’s probably worth asking someone with the Yankees why the problem wasn’t seen and the surgery wasn’t done earlier in an effort to limit the development time he’ll now lose.

Either way, it was hoped that Banuelos would be a key part of Yankees new relatively austere future.  Hal Steinbrenner is on record as saying that he wants the team’s payroll under $189 million soon to avoid luxury tax charges. The only real way to make that happen, it seems, is for the pitching staff to be mostly young and cheap.  That could still happen, but Banuelos won’t be part of that for some time.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.