Stewart cleared waivers and was outrighted to the Tigers' alternate training site Tuesday. Stewart owns a career .225/.300/.376 slash line in 157 games at the highest level. Once a well-regarded power-hitting prospect, he's now been relegated to organizational depth.
The Tigers designated Stewart for assignment Thursday, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com reports. The 27-year-old outfielder had already missed out on the Opening Day roster after being optioned to minor-league camp two weeks earlier, but the Tigers elected to remove him from the 40-man roster entirely Thursday to clear a spot for long reliever Derek Holland. A former top prospect for Detroit, Stewart struggled to find success over his various stints in the majors across the past three seasons, posting a .676 OPS over 587 career plate appearances.
Stewart was optioned to Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday. It was reported before the start of spring training that Stewart would have to compete for a roster spot, and he ultimately did not do enough to break camp with the big club. Stewart will be the top option -- or at least among the top options -- should the Tigers need to bring up an outfielder from the minor-league ranks.
Stewart will be competing for a bench spot during spring training after the Tigers added to their outfield depth during the offseason, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports. JaCoby Jones and Victor Reyes return and look like outfield starters, and the team added Robbie Grossman and Nomar Mazara in free agency. Akil Baddoo also came over in the Rule 5 draft, creating a bit of a logjam. Stewart's prospect luster has faded over the past few seasons as he's struggled to hit consistently at the MLB level, so he'll need a strong spring training to have any chance at sticking in the majors.
Stewarts was recalled by the Tigers on Friday. Stewart spent most of the year on the big-league roster before being demoted in early September. He's hitting just .171/.233/.317 on the season in 90 plate appearances. Jeimer Candelario (back) landed on the 10-day injured list in a corresponding move.
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