Manuel Alcides Molina Acosta
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 170 lb.
Manny Acosta made his major league debut in 2007, four years after his career was left for dead by his original team.
Acosta signed with the New York Yankees as a teenager and had a rough debut in 1998 with the DSL Yankees, going 0-1 with a save and a 16.43 ERA. In 7 2/3 innings, he walked 10 and allowed 20 hits. They brought him back for 1999 and he improved to 4-2, 3.16 with 38 K in 31 1/3 IP. In 2000, Manny was 4-2 with a 3.47 ERA for the GCL Yankees. He started off 2001 with a blast for the Greensboro Bats (5-2, 1.51, 37 H and 67 K in 65 2/3 IP) but was less impressive in a brief stint with the Tampa Yankees (0-1, 7.71). In 2002, he returned to Greensboro and was just 2-5 with a 6.40 ERA and 2.10 WHIP. He was 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees as well. After starting 2003 0-8 with a 6.64 ERA for the Battle Creek Yankees, Manny was released.
The Atlanta Braves picked up the right-hander, who was 2-0 with a save and 6.34 ERA in eight games in 2003 for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. In 2004, he pitched for Myrtle Beach (4-0, 4.24 in 11 games) and the GCL Braves (2 runs in 2 2/3 IP) while battling injury. In 2005, he threw 21 games - 18 for Myrtle Beach (2-4, 7 Sv, 4.43) and 3 for the Danville Braves (2 runs in six innings).
Acosta still made Panama's roster for the 2006 World Baseball Classic. In game one, he relieved Len Picota with a 1-1 tie in the fifth against Puerto Rico. He allowed a single to Alex Cintron and Alex Cora bunted Cintron over. Bernie Williams then singled for a 2-1 lead. Acosta retired his next 8 batters, including Ivan Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, before being replaced by Roger Deago.
In game two, Acosta came in with a 4-3 lead in the 7th inning with one out and the bases loaded against Cuba, replacing Manuel Corpas. Acosta allowed a sacrifice fly to Yulieski Gourriel but escaped further damage in the 7th and 8th. In the 9th, though, the right-hander walked Michel Enriquez then surrendered a 2-run homer to Gourriel to give Panama the loss.
Acosta had gone 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in the Classic.
During the regular season, Acosta was healthy for the first time in years. He threw 55 games, leading the Braves minor league system. He had 4 saves and a 2.35 ERA for the Mississippi Braves, allowing a .137 average but 15 walks in 15 1/3 IP. He then moved to the Richmond Braves, where he went 1-6 with 17 saves and a 3.63 ERA, albeit with 32 walks in 44 2/3 IP.
Acosta was even sharper in 2007. He began 9-3 with 12 saves and a 2.26 ERA for Richmond in 40 games. He walked 35 in 59 2/3 IP. He was called up to Atlanta when Octavio Dotel went on the disabled list. He debuted in the majors on August 12, relieving Peter Moylan in the 9th inning of a 5-3 game in which Atlanta trailed. He fanned his first opponent in the majors, Aaron Rowand, and got two more to retire the side. Acosta was the 49th Panamanian native in the major leagues. In 21 major league relief appearances that season, he posted an outstanding 2.28 ERA and only gave up 13 hits in 23.7 innings.
Acosta was 3-5 with 3 saves and a 3.57 ERA in 46 games for the 2008 Braves. Back on Panama's roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, he did not pitch a game in the Classic. That summer, he pitched for both the 2009 Braves (1-1, 4.34 in 36 G) and Gwinnett Braves (1-3, 2 Sv, 2.63 in 18 G). He would split time between the majors and minors every year from 2009-2012. Waived by Atlanta, he was picked up by the New York Mets. He split the summer between the Mets (3-2, Sv, 2.95 in 41 G, 42 K in 39 2/3 IP) and the Buffalo Bisons (2-3, 5 Sv, 3.47 in 28 G).
He was 4-1 with 4 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 44 games for the 2011 Mets and 1-0 with 4 saves and a 1.77 ERA in 20 games for Buffalo, continuing his workhorse load. He slumped the next summer, doing well in the minors (0-1, 2.25 in 17 G for Buffalo) but only going 1-3 with a save and a 6.46 ERA in 45 outings for the Mets. He was one of Panama's top hurlers (along with Ramiro Mendoza and Eliecer Navarro in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. He closed out the 6-2 win over Nicaragua, replacing Manuel Corpas and retiring Jilton Calderon, Dwight Britton (by K) and Ofilio Castro in order. In the 1-0 loss to Brazil in the finale, he replaced Mendoza in the bottom of the 8th and fanned the only batter he faced, Yuichi Matsumoto.