NEW YORK (AP) -Struggling pitcher Ian Kennedy was sent to the minor leagues Sunday by the New York Yankees, who purchased Darrell Rasner's contract from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees promised patience with their young pitchers this season, but Kennedy was optioned to Triple-A after going 0-2 with an 8.37 ERA in six games, including five starts.
``I was kind of surprised,'' Kennedy said. ``But it's bound to happen if you don't win, especially here.''
The 23-year-old right-hander lasted 4 2-3 innings in his most recent outing Thursday night against Detroit and got little help from his defense while squandering a 3-0 lead. He was expected to fill a slot at the back of New York's rotation this year and acknowledged he was disappointed about being demoted.
``I just feel like I was making progress,'' said Kennedy, who went 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts for the Yankees late last season. ``I know that I don't have as much confidence as I had last September.''
The move opened a roster spot for Rasner, who was set to start Sunday's series finale against the Seattle Mariners in place of injured Phil Hughes.
The Yankees plan to give Rasner, 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA in five outings at Triple-A, another start Friday or Saturday in Detroit. Kei Igawa could be called up from Triple-A to pitch in that series as well.
``That's the way we're leaning right now,'' general manager Brian Cashman said.
Igawa was 2-3 with a 3.58 ERA at Triple-A going into Sunday's scheduled start against Durham. The Yankees spent $46 million to bring him over from Japan before last season and the left-hander finished a disappointing 2-3 with a 6.25 ERA in 14 games, including 12 starts.
To make room for Rasner on the 40-man roster, the Yankees transferred reliever Brian Bruney (right foot) from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
As for Kennedy, he hopes to be back in the big leagues soon. The Yankees said that simply depends on how well he pitches in the minors.
``To me, this is just a little detour in his career,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ``He just needs to iron out some things.''

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