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Posted April 22, 2003 by publisher in Cuban Sports

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MINNEAPOLIS - Struggling Jose Contreras will report to the New York Yankees (news)’ minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., instead of Triple-A Columbus.
One day after he said Contreras was optioned to Triple-A, manager Joe Torre said the Cuban defector would instead go to Florida. Torre did not know whether the right-hander would pitch for New York’s Class-A affiliate in Tampa or participate in extended spring training.

“The last thing I know is I talked to George Steinbrenner the other day and he asked me to decide on what I wanted to do, but evidently that’s not the case,” Torre said.

Torre said he got a call from general manager Brian Cashman on Sunday morning informing him that Contreras wasn’t going to Columbus, after all.

Torre said he respected the decision, which he said was made by Steinbrenner, but was unhappy because he thought the decision was the manager’s to make.

“My problem yesterday is that I sat in my room with this young man, told him where he was going,” Torre said. “Turns out, I’m the liar there. That, I’m not crazy about. I always pride myself to be as honest as I can possibly be. When that gets questioned, especially when you’re dealing with a communication problem, then I have a problem.”

Torre said he would try to contact Contreras about the decision.

“I don’t know if he knows yet,” Torre said. “I’m sure he’s scratching his head wondering why.”

Contreras signed a $32 million, four-year contract this winter after a stellar career in Cuba. He struggled as a reliever in the majors and was demoted so he would have more opportunities to pitch.

He was 1-0 with a 10.80 ERA in five appearances for the Yankees.

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