Middle infielder Jorge Mateo, considered one of the Yankees' top prospects, was sent to Class A Tampa Friday.
Mateo was 3-for-22 with the Yankees this spring. Last year, he hit .247 with eight homers, 47 RBI and 36 stolen bases for Class A Tampa. He also was suspended for two weeks for violating unspecified team rules.
It had been speculated that Mateo, a 21-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, might begin the season at Double-A Trenton.
"He had a great camp on the field, in the clubhouse, off the field," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters "When I was 21 years old, I was doing some foolish things. I think he's grown up. I don't think he could have done much more."
Girardi said center field could also be a spot for Mateo.
"He played a really good shortstop and second base for us. When you have the speed he does, the versatility, as I told him: 'The talent level you have, we're thinking of the quickest way to get [you] here. We have talented players all over the place, so don't think because we're moving you around we don't believe you have one position.' "