|The Giants and Yankees completed a minor trade the day before each club's first game. San Francisco sent backup catcher Chris Stewart to the Yankees for righty reliever George Kontos. Stewart has zero minor league options, so the Yankees must keep him on the active roster or risk losing him on waivers (or to free agency) if they attempt to send him to Triple-A.
|George Kontos, rhp
Born: June 12, 1985 in Lincolnwood, Ill.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 225. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Yankees in fifth round of 2006 draft; signed June 16, 2006 ... Selected by Padres from Yankees in Rule 5 major league draft, Dec. 9, 2010 ... Returned to Yankees, March 14, 2011.
Kontos lost a year to Tommy John surgery beginning in July 2009, but he's pitched effectively as a reliever since returning, and he made his big league debut in September. His fastball sits 89-91 mph and features some life, but his go-to pitch is a mid-80s slider that makes him more effective against same-sided batters. Kontos has held Triple-A righties to a meager .194/.253/.362 batting line in 346 plate appearances dating back to 2009 (though with 11 homers allowed). He has three minor league options remaining, though he can elect free agency if outrighted off the 40-man roster.
|Chris Stewart, c
Age: 30. Position: C (94 G), 1B (4 G).
Born: Feb. 19, 1982 in Fontana, Calif.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 210. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Riverside (Calif.) CC.
Career Transactions: Selected by White Sox in 12th round of 2001 draft; signed Aug. 18, 2001 ... Traded by White Sox to Rangers for RHP John Lujan, Jan. 12, 2007 ... Released by Rangers, March 27, 2008 ... Signed by Yankees, April 3, 2008 ... Granted free agency, July 2, 2008; re-signed by Yankees, July 2, 2008 ... Granted free agency, Nov. 3, 2008 ... Signed by White Sox, Dec. 16, 2008 ... Traded by White Sox to Yankees for future considerations, March 22, 2009 ... Granted free agency, Nov. 9, 2009 ... Signed by Padres, Dec. 17, 2009 ... Granted free agency, Oct. 8, 2010 ... Signed by Giants, Jan. 15, 2011.
Stewart made 51 starts at catcher for the Giants last year in the wake of Buster Posey's season-ending injury. A plus thrower, he gunned down 39 percent of basestealers for San Francisco, a rate consistent with his minor league track record, and he has Gold Glove potential behind the plate if he ever catches 100 games in a big league season. Prior to latching on with San Francisco last year, Stewart had bounced around for five years, spending most of his time playing for the Triple-A clubs of the White Sox, Rangers, Yankees (all of 2008-09) and Padres. He has no impact potential with the bat—he's batted .259/.334/.361 in 1,493 career Triple-A plate appearances—making him ideal in a backup and defensive replacement role. The Giants deemed Stewart expendable when they named Posey and Hector Sanchez their catching tandem for 2012.