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Red Sox trade Stephen Drew to Yankees

Stephen Drew was signed by the Red Sox as a free agent in May.

AP

Stephen Drew was signed by the Red Sox as a free agent in May.

Light-hitting shortstop Stephen Drew was traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees just before the Major League Baseball trade deadline on Thursday.

It was the first trade between the American League East rivals since 1997, when the Red Sox acquired catcher Mike Stanley and infielder Randy Brown for pitcher Tony Armas Jr. and a player named later.

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According to the New York Daily News, Drew is likely to play second base for the Yankees, who are expected to designate Brian Roberts for assignment.

“We’re asking him to accept a new challenge,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

Drew, who played on the Red Sox’ World Series championship team in 2013, was given a qualifying offer after the season but rejected it and elected to become a free agent. He was without a team until the Red Sox signed Drew in May to a prorated contract of $10.2 million and moved Xander Bogaerts to third base. Drew was batting .176 this season with four home runs and 11 RBIs.

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The Red Sox received infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson in return. Johnson is batting .219 this season with six home runs and 22 RBIs. Johnson, 32, has played 41 games at third base, 27 at first base, three in left field, and one each at second base and right field. He has played 1,128 career major league games for the Braves, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Rays, and Yankees.

The Red Sox open a three-game series with the Yankees on Friday at Fenway Park.

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