If the Yankees plan to use left-hander Manny Banuelos as a left-handed reliever out of the bullpen, you will probably see him do it in Triple-A Scranton first.
Joe Girardi said on Tuesday that Banuelos would have to begin to pitch as a reliever in the minors before the Yankees considered calling him up for a relief role. Doing so would help him get accustomed to the different warm-up times and daily routine of a reliever.
Banuelos pitched well as a starter for Triple-A Scranton on Sunday, allowing just one run in six innings while walking none and striking out five.
At Double-A Trenton, Banuelos was 4-5 with a 3.59 ERA. In 95 1/3 innings, he struck out 94 and walked 52.
The Yankees may call up Banuelos to give them another left-handed option out of the bullpen. After struggling earlier in the season, current lefty specialist Boone Logan has picked up his play of late.
Logan's success aside, Banuelos is surely an option and will almost certainly be called up when rosters expand on Sept. 1, if not before then.
"We're always looking at if there's help from the minor leagues from our prospects," Girardi said Tuesday. "[Catcher Jesus] Montero is a guy that, we feel at some point, is going to help us. I can't tell you exactly when it's going to be. Banuelos is another. And there's a lot more than just those two. Will they be here this year? I can't tell you.
"Banuelos is younger than Montero and has had less time in Triple-A than Montero but it doesn't mean that we're afraid to call someone up. We've had good success with the guys who've come up and played an important role for us this year."
As for other options at left-handed specialist, Girardi said time is running out on southpaw Damaso Marte. Marte has been on the disabled list all season with left shoulder labrum inflammation.
"The days are ticking away," he said of Marte. "I'm hopeful that we do but I can't tell you that we will."
Lefty Pedro Feliciano (left rotator cuff strain) is also rehabbing in Tampa but not close to a return to the Bronx.