NEW YORK (AP) -Needing to make room on the roster for Roger Clemens, the New York Yankees optioned reliever Chris Britton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.
Britton was recalled June 1 and was 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three appearances covering five innings for the Yankees this year. His demotion kept left-hander Sean Henn on the big league roster.
``That was a tough decision,'' manager Joe Torre said. ``We just felt Sean Henn seems to be improving. He's probably closer to the long man that we want.''
Clemens started Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, making his long-awaited 2007 major league debut after three tuneups in the minors. His return to the Yankees originally was scheduled for last Monday at the Chicago White Sox, but was pushed back because of an ailing groin.
In his latest comeback, the 44-year-old Clemens was pitching in pinstripes for the first time since 2003. He spent the past three seasons with his hometown Houston Astros.
The Rocket agreed May 6 to a one-year contract worth $28,000,022 - the last two digits matching his uniform number. He began earning his salary Saturday and will get $17,442,637 this season - but he also will cost the Yankees $6,977,054 in luxury tax, making the total $24,419,691.
The Yankees purchased Clemens' contract from Scranton. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the team transferred rookie right-hander Phil Hughes (strained left hamstring) from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.

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