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Yanks free space by dealing Stewart to Bucs

Yanks free space by dealing Stewart to Bucs

Yanks free space by dealing Stewart to Bucs

NEW YORK -- The Yankees cleared space on their roster on Monday by trading catcher Chris Stewart to the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named.

Stewart had been displaced by the Yankees' recent agreement with free-agent catcher Brian McCann, suggesting that he might be a prime candidate to be non-tendered in advance of Monday's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline for arbitration-eligible players.

Instead, Monday's deal moves Stewart to Pittsburgh, where he projects as a backup to former Yankees teammate Russell Martin. Stewart batted .211 with four home runs and 25 RBIs in 109 games for the Yankees in 2013, making 97 starts behind the plate.

The Yankees addressed their catching needs last week with McCann, who agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal that includes a vesting option for a sixth season as well as a no-trade clause. That contract could be officially announced this week.

Behind McCann, the Yankees expect to tender catcher Francisco Cervelli a contract and will have him in camp to compete for a job as McCann's backup. They also have catchers Austin Romine and J.R. Murphy, all of whom saw time behind the plate for the Yankees this past season.

The Yankees are also expected to tender contracts to outfielder Brett Gardner and pitchers David Robertson, Ivan Nova and Shawn Kelley on Monday. Infielder Jayson Nix is considered to be a non-tender candidate, considering the club's recent agreement with infielder Brendan Ryan.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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