With Franklin Morales on the disabled list, Aaron Cook's Saturday start on short rest, and Daisuke Matsuzaka already used on Monday to replace Cook's regular turn in the rotation, Boston was officially out of big-league options to pitch in Wednesday's game against the Angels. Enter Zach Stewart, who was in Pawtucket, and will now pitch for Boston.
Stewart was the main piece in the Kevin Youkilis deal from June. While he hasn't found much success in the majors as of yet, Boston is on a strong run of getting arms like this -- ones with stuff, but a lack of results -- to start performing closer to their initial expectations. Franklin Morales, Andrew Miller, and Clayton Mortensen can all vouch for this approach at the moment, and Stewart is the latest in this line to get a shot at proving he owns a big-league arm.
Stewart struck out just five batters in his first 18 innings with Pawtucket, but has 37 strikeouts in his last 41 innings for the PawSox, against 12 walks and six homers. That's a 3.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but the homers are a bit worrisome, given he's never had many issues with them before. On Wednesday night, we'll get a chance to see if it's just a blip, or if Stewart is living in the strike zone without throwing consistently quality strikes.
Stewart has made just one start this year, and it didn't go well, with the right-hander giving up four homers in 5-2/3 innings. That was back with the White Sox, though, so one hopes the Red Sox corrected whatever flaw might have made that happen. It's tough to say one way or another given the sample size and the above.
Though there is no official move to bring Stewart to Boston, Clayton Mortensen was packing his locker following Tuesday night's contest, meaning he's likely the hurler being sent to Pawtucket in Stewart's place. It's August 29, though, so Mortensen will be back very soon after rosters expand in September, even sooner if he's optioned to somewhere besides Triple-A, given that places like the GCL have their seasons end earlier.