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Yankees send down six relief pitchers

Yankees relief pitcher Preston Claiborne reacts on the

Yankees relief pitcher Preston Claiborne reacts on the mound in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 5, 2013. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

BRADENTON, Fla. - The Yankees sent six more pitchers out of camp Thursday, bringing their bullpen situation to start the season further into focus.

Righthander Preston Claiborne was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Righthanders David Herndon, Jim Miller, Yoshinori Tateyama, Chris Leroux and Danny Burawa, a Rocky Point graduate with a 1.93 ERA in spring training, and lefty Fred Lewis were reassigned to minor-league camp.

That leaves righthanders Dellin Betances, Shane Greene and Garden City graduate Matt Daley and lefties Cesar Cabral and Vidal Nuño as candidates for the final two of seven relief spots. The assumption is that righthanders David Robertson, David Phelps, Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley and lefthander Matt Thornton already are in.

Betances lowered his ERA to 0.93 with a scoreless fifth inning Thursday and seems to have an inside track on one of the spots. Cabral, who pitched 11/3 innings and has not allowed a run in 102/3, could be the second lefty.

Nuño threw a scoreless sixth to lower his ERA to 3.38. Greene has 10 strikeouts in 72/3 innings. Daley has allowed one run in 82/3 innings and struck out nine.

Joe Girardi said final decisions on the bullpen and infield will be made Friday. The Yankees play the Marlins Saturday before leaving for Houston, where they open the season Tuesday night.

"People have to pack and people have to get ready for their seasons," he said.

Girardi stressed to those already demoted that an opportunity hasn't been lost for good.

"It's been a fierce camp here and you guys have had success here," he said of his message. "We always tell them at some point the phone's going to ring, and you want to be that person that's throwing the best."

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