Thursday featured a few blasts from the past for the Yankees.
Not only did New York add left-hander Manny Bañuelos to the big-league roster, his first opportunity to don pinstripes 10 years after he was the club’s top prospect, but they also reeled in another reliever that began his career in the Yankees organization.
New York signed right-hander Shane Greene to a Minor League deal, sending him to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Greene, 33, has played for the Tigers, Braves and Dodgers over the last seven-plus seasons since he was traded from the Yankees to Detroit (in the Didi Gregorius deal). In his career, including a promising season with the Yankees as a rookie in 2014, Greene has a 4.50 ERA in 342 games, striking out 438 batters in 469.2 innings pitched.
Asked after Thursday night’s win over the Rays about the Greene signing, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he’s been a really good pitcher in this league for a long time.
That’s the reason they wanted to bring him back and “see what he’s got.”
“I know our guys always have some things they feel like they can tweak or maybe help a guy,” Boone told reporters in Tampa Bay. “He’s a guy with obviously a ton of experience and a ton of success so I just know it was intriguing for us to get him and we’ll see what we have.”
Let’s say Greene ends up revitalizing his career with the Yankees this season and beyond, making an impact at some point in the bullpen. As Boone alluded to, he wouldn’t be the first pitcher to shine after entering this organization, working with coaches in the franchise’s revered pitching department.
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Just look at the way Clay Holmes has blossomed since he was acquired by the Yankees last year. A pitcher who had a 5.57 ERA in his career with the Pirates has transformed into one of the best relievers in baseball, a possible long-term replacement in New York’s closer spot with Aroldis Chapman on the injured list.
The same can be said for Lucas Luetge and his strong performance in 2021, six years after his previous big-league opportunity.
Obviously, each pitcher brings their own specific set of skills and circumstances to the table. Sometimes all it takes is one revision to bring the best out of an arm at the highest level, though.
Even with New York’s recent avalanche of adversity—losing Chapman (Achilles), Jonathan Loáisiga (shoulder) and Chad Green (Tommy John) to the injured list—it’s still unlikely that Greene is utilized in the Bronx this year. It would take more injuries and unforeseen circumstances. Plus, he’s not on the 40-man roster.
But don’t rule out the possibility that he recaptures his old form, to a certain degree. Remember, Greene once made an All-Star Game and recorded 32 saves in a two-season span when he was with the Tigers.
Keep an eye on Greene as he gets settled in Triple-A. Same goes for right-hander Shelby Miller who was once a top prospect as well. Miller has a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings with the RailRiders this season, another veteran eager to return to the big leagues at some point.