NEW YORK, April 19 (UPI) -- In a move that had been expected, the New York Yankees Saturday optioned struggling righthander Jose Contreras to Class AAA Columbus of the International League.
Contreras signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Yankees last December, but the Cuban defector has pitched just five innings in five appearances this season.
On Friday, he threw only seven pitches, allowing a hit and a walk before being pulled. He is 0-1 with a 10.82 ERA and has struggled with his control, allowing 10 hits and five walks.
Contreras was demoted to long relief after losing the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation to Jeff Weaver in spring training.
"I had a feeling it was coming," Contreras said through an interpreter. "It wasn't a surprise. I think it's going to help me to be able to pitch regularly every five days."
To fill Contreras' roster spot, the Yankees recalled lefthander Randy Choate from Columbus. Choate, who was sent down at the end of spring training, was 0-2 with a 2.35 ERA in seven relief appearances for the Clippers.
Choate made 18 appearances for the Yankees last season, recording a 6.04 ERA without getting a decision.