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05/15/08 4:41 PM ET

Yanks send Igawa back to Triple-A

Left-hander allows six runs in only start before demotion

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees recalled right-hander Ian Kennedy from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make Thursday's start against the Rays at Tropicana Field, optioning left-hander Kei Igawa to Triple-A.

The 28-year-old Igawa started on Friday at Detroit, his first start of the season in the Majors, and was rapped for six earned runs in three-plus innings.

When the Yankees were rained out on Sunday, they took advantage of the opportunity to shuffle their rotation, moving Igawa to the bullpen for three games. He did not appear in the Yankees' series at Tampa Bay.

"I am disappointed that I was not able to produce the results that I wanted, as well as what was expected out of the team," Igawa said in a statement. "Moving forward, I will continue to work hard to be able to contribute to the team in the future."

The returns have been negligible on Igawa, in whom the Yankees invested $46 million last year -- $26 million in a bid to obtain his rights from the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League, and then a five-year, $20 million contract on top of that. Igawa is 2-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 15 big league games (13 starts), allowing 87 hits and 53 earned runs in 70 2/3 innings.

A three-time strikeout leader in Japan, Igawa has walked 37 and fanned 53 for the Yankees, and only had two swings and misses in his start at Detroit. The Yankees said that Igawa will start on Friday for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Indianapolis and will continue to work toward becoming a serviceable big league hurler.

"We still picture him as a starter," Girardi said. "We don't want him to pitch every once in a while. We need him to pitch and continue to improve."

Kennedy was 0-2 with an 8.37 ERA in six starts for the Yankees before he was optioned on May 4. He made two starts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, allowing just two hits in 8 1/3 innings while walking none and striking out eight.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.