ANAHEIM, Calif. — If the Red Sox are to extract any value out of the trade that sent Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, it’ll be up to Zach Stewart to provide it.
The righthander will get a chance to show his worth Wednesday night when he starts against the Los Angeles Angels. With lefthander Franklin Morales going on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, Stewart is the latest pitcher to join the rotation.
“I’m excited and ready to get going,” Stewart said on Tuesday. “They told me [Monday] night and I was definitely surprised.”
Stewart is 3-8 with a 5.92 earned run average in 31 major league games with the Blue Jays and White Sox, 12 of them starts. The Sox used him only as a starter in Triple A Pawtucket. Stewart was 3-5, 3.94 in 11 starts.
“It’s been good,” Stewart said. “Starting is kind of how it always is, you try and stay as even-keeled as possible.”
Ryan Lavarnway, who caught Stewart in Pawtucket, said he has shown improvement over the last few weeks.
“He gave us a chance to win pretty much every time he was out there,” Lavarnway said. “I think he’ll compete. I can’t speak to what he did before he came here, but his stuff looked good to me.”
Stewart has worked on improving his slider since joining the Red Sox. He is not overpowering, given his reliance on a sinker. But at one point he was considered a prime prospect for Toronto.
Stewart, who turns 26 next month, has already been traded three times.
After being drafted by the Reds out of Texas Tech in 2008, Stewart was traded to the Blue Jays a year later as part of a package to obtain Scott Rolen.
The Jays traded Stewart and Jason Frasor to the White Sox in 2011 for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen.
The Red Sox sent Youkilis to the White Sox June 24 in exchange for Stewart and infielder Brent Lillibridge. The Sox traded Lillibridge to the Indians July 24.
“With a trade, there’s always a silver lining to it just because somebody wants you and somebody has given up something to come and get you,” Stewart said. “To give up a guy like Youkilis and what he brings to the table and what caliber of player he is, it meant a lot to me to come over here and that they thought that much of me.”
Morales has thrown 76⅓ innings this season, 30 more than his previous high in a season, thanks to making nine starts. He has looked worn down in his last three starts, lasting only 13⅓ innings and giving up 10 earned runs.
Manager Bobby Valentine called it “an active rest period” for Morales. His shoulder is more tired than necessarily injured.
“He was a little cranky the other day, and at this time of the year just didn’t think there was any reason to be anything but cautious,” Valentine said.
Alfredo Aceves returned to the Red Sox Tuesday, joining the team at Angel Stadium after serving a three-game suspension. He blew the save in the ninth as the Red Sox lost, 6-5.
The righthander was not permitted on the team plane and traveled here alone.
Aceves was disciplined for his actions last Friday. When Valentine went with Andrew Bailey to close out a game against the Royals, Aceves tore off his uniform jersey in the bullpen and later confronted Valentine in his office, slamming the door on his way out.
“It’s in the past. I’m here to play baseball,” said Aceves, who was unresponsive to other questions. “That’s it.”
Valentine met with Aceves for 30 minutes Tuesday. The pitcher also met with members of the coaching staff.
“It’s all over. I’m excited about him possibly coming back to help us win a game or two or three,” said Valentine, who would not say whether Aceves apologized.
Aceves is 2-9 with a 4.76 ERA in 59 appearances. He has 25 saves in 33 opportunities. Prior to the suspension, Aceves had allowed 11 runs on 13 hits over 9⅔ innings.
Doing the waive
Daisuke Matsuzaka is the latest notable player to be placed on trade waivers by the Red Sox.
Teams have until Friday to obtain any players who would be eligible for the postseason roster, so any deal for Matsuzaka would have to happen soon.
The righthander may actually have some value after a solid performance against the Royals Monday. He allowed one unearned run on five hits over seven innings with two walks and six strikeouts.
Matsuzaka is coming to the end of a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red Sox and is unlikely to return next season. By trading him now, the Red Sox could get a prospect in return and perhaps save a few dollars.
Matsuzaka does have full no-trade protection and would have to approve any deal. He is 50-33 with a 4.29 earned run average with the Sox, 17-18, 5.04 in only 51 games over the last four seasons.Continued...