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Zach Stewart gets his chance tonight

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 29, 2012 03:04 PM

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox will start Zach Stewart against the Angels tonight. Which probably has a few fans asking, "Who is Zach Stewart?"

The righthander, who turns 26 next month, was one of the players obtained from the White Sox for Kevin Youkilis on June 24.

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.

As a member of the Blue Jays, Stewart started in Anaheim on Aug. 24, 2011. His line was not pretty: 6 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.

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 an overpowering starter, given his reliance on a sinker. At one point, Stewart was considered a prime prospect for Toronto, but he 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 then sent Youkilis to the White Sox on June 24 in exchange for Stewart and infielder Brent Lillibridge. The Sox traded Lillibridge to the Indians on 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.”

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to free up playing time for Will Middlebrooks and to get Adrian Gonzalez out of right field before he ran into a fence or something. Anything Stewart gives them will be a bonus. Starting tonight, we'll see what he has to offer.

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