The wave of sickness sweeping the Dodgers clubhouse toppled Ross Stripling on Thursday. The team scratched Stripling from his scheduled start, told him to leave the spring training complex and rest, and inserted Manny Banuelos as their starting pitcher against the Cleveland Indians.
Banuelos once was one of baseball’s most promising prospects, considered a future anchor in the New York Yankees’ rotation. He pitched in the Futures Game in 2009, and he started the Arizona Fall League all-star game in 2010.
In 2011, at age 19, he so impressed Mariano Rivera that the legendary Yankees closer called Banuelos the greatest pitching prospect he ever had seen.
These days, Banuelos is a cautionary tale that all pitchers do not return from Tommy John surgery as good or better than they were before the procedure.
He sat out the 2013 season as he recovered from the surgery. He has pitched for four organizations since then, with seven major league appearances to his credit, all with the Atlanta Braves in 2015.
The pitching-depleted Angels signed him to a minor league contract for the 2017 season, but he did not make it to the majors. He went 5-6 with a 4.93 earned-run average, primarily as a reliever, with 49 walks in 95 innings.
The Dodgers signed him to a minor league contract this winter. You never know. He throws left-handed, and he still is just 26 years old.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin