Braves’ Banuelos moves step closer to September return

Rookie pitcher Manny Banuelos moved a step closer to an expected September return to the Braves roster when the left-hander had his rehab assignment transferred to Triple-A Gwinnett to make a start Thursday night.

Banuelos had been rehabbing in Florida with the Braves’ Gulf Coast League team. Banuelos, 24, was impressive in posting a 2.49 ERA in five games (four starts) for the Braves before going on the DL with inflammation in his surgically repaired left elbow. The former Yankees prospect was 6-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 15 starts at Gwinnett this season before his first major league callup.

Banuelos has pitched 106 1/3 innings this season after totaling 76 1/3 innings in the Yankees minor league system in 2014 in his first full season after Tommy John elbow surgery.

Also Thursday, reliever Brandon Cunniff, who is on the Triple-A DL, began a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League team. Cunniff could also return to the Braves’ major league roster at some point in September.

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