Yankees ship Igawa to minors, make room for DeSalvo

Updated: May 7, 2007, 8:48 PM ET
Associated Press

Kei Igawa

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees shipped struggling pitcher Kei Igawa to the minors on Monday to make room on the roster for right-hander Matt DeSalvo.

Igawa was optioned to Class-A Tampa, keeping right-hander Darrell Rasner in the big leagues after he pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings Sunday in a victory over the Seattle Mariners. New York had planned to send Rasner right back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after his start, but changed course on Monday.

Rasner, 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA in four starts, is likely to get the ball again Friday night in Seattle.

The Yankees spent $46 million to bring Igawa over from Japan in the offseason and expected him to fill a spot at the back of their rotation. He has largely been a disappointment, going 2-1 with a 7.63 ERA in six games, including five starts. The 27-year-old left-hander has allowed eight homers and 14 walks in 30 2/3 innings.

"There's some things he's got to fix, mechanically, we believe," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He's got major league ability, we have no doubt about that. We've seen it in three games. But we haven't seen it consistently."

Igawa will work to rectify his delivery with Nardi Contreras, the club's pitching coordinator in Tampa, Fla.

"I want to emphasize on basics," Igawa said through a translator. "I knew with the Yankees if you don't show the results up here in the major leagues, the Yankees demote you to the minors. I knew that before I signed."

Igawa acknowledged his transition to the big leagues has been difficult.

"It's not only baseball, my lifestyle has changed completely. The rotation, the number of days in between pitching has changed completely," he said. "It's everything, so I'm going to make sure when I go down to the minors I'll [figure] out the best way to adjust and get back."

DeSalvo started Monday night against the Mariners in his major league debut, making the injury-ravaged Yankees the first team in major league history to use 10 starting pitchers in its first 30 games. The 26-year-old right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA at Triple-A this season.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press