A recurring feature of the blog, Buzz, will follow Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, as well as other top Yankee prospects, all season.
When Manny Banuelos showed up in the Tampa clubhouse, he looked a little lost. The Yankee locker room is sort of set up like a high school lunch room with the cool kids in certain corners and the others relegated to the middle island of lockers. So the 5-foot-9, 20-year-old Banuelos wandered around, peering up, trying to find his new stall.
Finally, after circling the locker room like a car trying to find parking spot in the city, Banuelos came across his name plate. He was with the cool kids. Next to him was the BMOC, CC Sabathia.
"It surprised me," Banuelos said.
Deep in one corner of the clubhouse is Sabathia's locker. To Sabathia's left is Michael Pineda. To Sabathia's right is Banuelos. Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda are on the same row. It is not by accident that Banuelos, the Yankees' top pitching prospect, can see how Sabathia and Garcia go about their work each day.
"That helps me a lot," Banuelos said. "They have a lot of experience here. They have a lot of years."
Sabathia knows the value of mentoring. As young Indian, he said he learned from guys like Dave Burba, Chuck Finley, Jim Thome, Ellis Burks and Matt Lawton. They taught Sabathia how to be a teammate first. Sabathia doesn't try to force anything on Banuelos or Pineda, but he knows if a young player hears the right words, it can contribute to the growth process.
"I think I would definitely be more brash than I was when I was younger," Sabathia said. "I would definitely always speak my mind to a certain extent. I had no filter back then. I was younger. I'm a lot more calm and laid-back than I was when I was a kid. That is definitely a tribute to the clubhouse I was in."
To read more about Banuelos click here.