Expos trade Stewart to Indians

Scott Stewart became the newest member of the Cleveland Indians bullpen on Monday.

Stewart, 28, was traded to Cleveland by the Montreal Expos for minor leaguers Ryan Church and Maicer Izturis.

"I'm really happy and I look forward to it," Stewart said.

"It's just another way of replenishing our (minor-league) system," Expos general manager Omar Minaya explained. "We were able to make this deal from an area of strength.

"We had a surplus of left-handers in the major leagues."

Stewart posted a 3-1 record and 3.98 earned-run average in 51 relief appearances with Montreal in 2003.

The left-handed reliever struck out 29 batters and walked 13 in 43 innings.

"I have a lot of friends in Montreal that I'm going to miss," Stewart said. "I didn't take anything for granted.

"I just like to have a good time and enjoy the game as much as I can. You go through the good and the bad."

That said, Stewart missed 47 games between July and September following an emergency appendectomy.

The native of Stoughton, Ma., is 10-4 with a 3.55 ERA and 20 saves in 180 MLB appearances since debuting with Montreal on April 5, 2001.

"I'm in the big leagues and I'm with a big-league team," Stewart said. "I'm with a good organization.

"As long as I'm in the big leagues, I'm thrilled to death."

Church, a 25-year old outfielder, hit .261 with 13 home runs, 52 runs batted in and 47 runs scored in 99 games with the Akron Aeros of the AA Eastern League.

As for Izturis, the infielder split last season between the Aeros and the Buffalo Bisons of the AAA International League.

The 23-year-old Venezuelan switch-hitter averaged a combined .270 with three homers and 48 RBIs in 138 games.

with files from Sports Network