TAMPA, Fla. -- Right-hander Preston Claiborne made 44 appearances at the big league level last season for the Yankees, but his stuff never appeared to be quite as crisp this spring, manager Joe Girardi said.
Claiborne was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Wednesday's appearance against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. Claiborne faced six batters and did not record an out, charged with six earned runs on four hits with a walk and hit-by-pitch.
"With what he did last year, we thought that he would have a really good chance of being in our bullpen," Girardi said. "He just really never got on a roll in Spring Training. As we told him, we know he's capable of pitching much better than he did. It's his job just to go get ready."
Claiborne, 26, posted a 4.11 ERA in 50 1/3 big league innings last season. His ERA in seven Grapefruit League appearances this spring was 14.29 (nine runs in 5 2/3 innings), and Girardi said that Claiborne seemed disappointed by the demotion.
"I don't think anyone ever takes the news well," Girardi said. "I think he understood, and he understood that he was not throwing the ball the way that he was capable of. But he was very determined to go fix that."