Sox believe long-term payoff worth starting Stewart

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Sox believe long-term payoff worth starting Stewart

In the big picture, the White Sox may be better off because Zach Stewart started on Monday against the Cubs. The 25-year-old righty acquired from Toronto in last year's Edwin Jackson trade was given the start in the first game of the BP Crosstown Cup's second leg in an effort to give Chris Sale and Jake Peavy extra rest.

"We've basically had Peavy and Sale on a college schedule, pitching once every six days, once every seven days on occasion," general manager Kenny Williams explained prior to the game. "The reason why Stewart's pitching tonight, for instance, is so we can continue that and we're not taxing them."

Peavy and Sale have kept the White Sox rotation afloat for most of the season, with Jose Quintana and Gavin Floyd contributing spurts of success. Keeping the former pair fresh is a top priority, hence the decision to push both starters back.

But the short-term outcome of the decision came back to bite the Sox. Stewart gave up four homers in 5 23 innings as the White Sox lost 12-3 to the Cubs, although the Sox bullpen was responsible for half of those runs crossing the plate. The loss was the ninth the Sox have suffered in their last 13 games.

With winds gusting to 41 miles per hour during the game, Stewart had trouble keeping the ball in the park. That's been a problem for him all season, as he's allowed 10 home runs in 30 innings.

Stewart has made spot starts in the past, so he refused to use the short preparation time as a reason for his struggles.

"I've done it before. It's nothing that should have phased me too much or anything," Stewart said. "A few opportunities came about and I didn't make the pitch. They did what they were supposed to do with it."

Stewart was booed off the field, and plenty of fans took to twitter to not-so-subtly state their belief the righty should be shipped off to Triple-A. Ventura said after the game the Sox would take a look at their available pitchers tomorrow and discuss any potential roster moves then. But it may be worth noting Dylan Axelrod, who's posted a 3.18 ERA with Charlotte, made his last start June 14 and is fully rested.

One game of 162 is just a small blip on the White Sox 2012 radar. And while getting throttled by the team with the worst record in baseball certainly won't leave a good taste in anyone's mouth, it was much easier for Ventura and the Sox to stomach when looking long-term.

"That was the plan, anyway," Ventura said of getting Peavy and Sale more rest. "We weren't planning on John Danks not being able to make this start. But things happen as far as some guys being available, some guys aren't, you just gotta make it through.

"The goal is all the way through the year, keeping them as strong as they can be all the way through the year."

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