Farrell lauds Zach Stewart's 'versatility'

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Farrell lauds Zach Stewart's 'versatility'

BOSTON -- Maybe you don't know much about Zack Stewart, the pitcher the Red Sox acquired from Chicago in the Kevin Youkilis trade, but John Farrell does.

Stewart made his major-league debut under Farrell in Toronto last year, pitching three games for the Jays before being dealt to the White Sox with Jason Frasor for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahan. (Strange note: It's been less than a year, but none of the players involved in the trade are still with the teams they were dealt to. Stewart's with the Red Sox, Frasor was traded back to Toronto in January, and both Jackson and Teahan signed as free agents with the Nationals.) Stewart's career numbers aren't much -- 3-8 record, 5.92 ERA in 31 games (12 as a starter) -- and Farrell's scouting report to Comcast SportsNet's Jessica Moran is . . . well, you decide.

"He's a pitcher with three effective pitches -- sinker, slider, changeup," said Farrell, the ex-Red Sox pitching coach who's now the Blue Jays manager. "A very good athlete who repeats his delivery and will throw a lot of strikes; and he's got the ability and the versatility to either pitch out of the bullpen or spot start on occasion."

Speaking of a ballplayer's "versatility" is roughly on par with speaking of a blind date's "good personality", so take that for what it's worth. One thing Farrell was positive about, though, was Stewart's makeup.

"When he came to us last year and made his debut, he handled the emotion or the adrenaline of it, or the major-league environment, in a positive way," Farrell said. "The game didn't seem to speed up on him. So I would anticipate that coming in here, when that opportunity arises, that he would handle the adrenaline rush in a good way."

Stewart's in Pawtucket, serving as organizational pitching depth.

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

BOSTON - It's a tad ironic the Red Sox met with David Ortiz on Tuesday about his post-playing career, and then the offense went out and did nothing and Xander Bogaerts was publicly lamenting Ortiz's absence two days later.

John Henry, Tom Werner, Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, met at Fenway Park on Tuesday to discuss the retired slugger’s future role with the organization, team president Sam Kennedy said. 

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Nothing's imminent, but there's one thing Ortiz is unlikely to do with the Sox in the near future: broadcasting. He could still do some of that in the postseason for say, FOX, but it appears an arrangement with NESN isn't in the cards for now, per Kennedy.

Ortiz's role with the Red Sox is still expected to be wide-ranging, something bigger than the standard alumnus agreement. He seems set on taking his time, enjoying his retired life, saying over the weekend he wants to be able to give the job the time it deserves. 

Kennedy in April was unsure if anything would get done this year. 

As for the team's play without Ortiz, and Bogaerts' comments?

"This is an incredibly talented ballclub," Werner said Friday at a luncheon benefitting the Red Sox Foundation and the Foundation To Be Named Later. "I’m really not terribly concerned. Like all fans, I’m a bit frustrated when we don’t give great pitching run support.

"We struggled the last couple of nights. It’s frustrating to think that Chris Sale, who I think is the best pitcher in the American League, doesn’t have much run support. But it’s April. I've been taught to not really look at the standings 'til July. Frustrated by the past two days, but look at the standings, and we’re only one win behind the Cubs. So you know, I mean I wish we were playing a little bit better,  but the team is going to bounce back."

Werner reiterated the Sox have room in their budget to add players ahead of the trade deadline.


 

Red Sox-Cubs lineups: Pedroia hits sixth, Pomeranz on mound

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Red Sox-Cubs lineups: Pedroia hits sixth, Pomeranz on mound

The offensively challenged Red Sox welcome the defending world champion Cubs (something you haven’t been able to write since 1909) to Fenway Park tonight for a three-game series. 

Boston (11-10) has the fewest home runs in the majors (11) and is tied for next-to-last with Toronto in the American League in runs scored (78). The Red Sox scored only once in the two-game sweep by the Yankees (on an RBI groundout by Chris Young in the ninth inning Wednesday). 

They turn to left-hander Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 4.60 ERA) tonight against Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (3-0, 3.65), who flirted with a no-hitter at Fenway (7 2/3, 10 strikeouts in a 2-0 Chicago win) the last the time Cubs visited in 2014. 

Dustin Pedroia (.242) is hitting sixth for the first time in his career and Xander Bogaerts (.313) leads off for the Red Sox.

Earlier Friday, the Red Sox have added utility man Chase d’Arnaud - acquired off waivers from the Atlanta Braves - to the 25-man roster and called up right-handed reliever Ben Taylor from Triple-A Pawtucket.

To make room on the roster, lefty reliever Robbie Ross Jr. and utility man Steve Selsky were optioned to Pawtucket. 

The full lineups: 

CUBS
Kyle Schwarber DH
Kris Bryant 3B
Anthony Rizzo 1B
Ben Zobrist LF
Addison Russell SS
Willson Contreras C
Jason Heyward RF
Javier Báez 2B
Albert Almora CF

Jake Arrieta RHP 

RED SOX
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
Marco Hernandez 3B

Drew Pomeranz LHP