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Red Sox send Youkilis to the White Sox

Kevin Youkilis

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

Kevin Youkilis hugged Dustin Pedroia as Youkilis came off the field after hitting a triple and being replaced with a pinch runner in the seventh inning.

The Red Sox have traded infielder Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox, major league sources told the Globe.

The Red Sox received 25-year-old righthander Zach Stewart and utility player Brent Lillibridge.

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The Red Sox also will be picking up $5.5 million of the $6.6 million Youkilis has remaining on his contract for this season. The White Sox would be responsible for a $1 million buyout on a $13 million team option for 2013.

Stewart, 25, is a former third-round pick from Texas Tech who was once considered a hot prospect. But this is the third time he has been traded in a span of four years, going from the Reds to the Blue Jays and then to the White Sox and now to the Red Sox.

Stewart is 3-8 with a 5.92 earned run average in 31 career appearances, 12 of them starts. He was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 appearances (one start) for the White Sox this season. He has thrown 30 innings, giving up 41 hits and striking out 16 with four walks.

The Reds traded Stewart, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Roenicke to the Blue Jays for Scott Rolen at the 2008 trade deadline.

In 2011, again in July, he and Jason Frasor went to the White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen. Stewart could be developed as starter depth by the Red Sox.

Lillibridge, 28, is a career .215 hitter with the Braves and White Sox. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher.

Lillibridge will be reporting to the Red Sox with Stewart being assigned to Triple A Pawtucket.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated Double-A left fielder Oscar Tejeda for assignment.

Fans say goodbye

Fans at today’s Red Sox win against the Braves had a chance to say goodbye to Youkilis. The infielder was lifted for a pinch-runner after hitting a triple in the seventh inning. After the game, manager Bobby Valentine said general manager Ben Cherington told him ‘‘there is a situation brewing’’ before Youkilis’ at-bat.

Youkilis was greeted with a hug from Nick Punto, who pinch-ran for him, and many of his teammates on the top step of the dugout.

The burly infielder took his helmet off and waved to the crowd, blew a kiss and was urged to come out for a curtain call by his teammates before heading down the steps. He was given a lengthy standing ovation and the fans chanted ‘‘Yook.’’

The Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported on the MLB Network today that Youkilis was not available to speak with the media after the Red Sox game today, and that his nameplate had been removed from his locker.

‘The Greek God of Walks’

Youkilis was in his ninth season with the Red Sox, and had become the subject of intense trade rumors recently. The normally productive infielder had been plagued with injuries for the past three seasons and was slumping at the plate this year, hitting just .225. In addition, Youkilis found himself losing playing time to Will Middlebrooks, a promising 23-year-old third baseman who has been one of the team's best hitters since being promoted from Triple-A this season. 

Youkilis excelled during his time with the Red Sox. He made three All-Star teams (2008, 2009, and 2011) and finished third in the American League MVP voting in 2008. He won a Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence as a first baseman in 2007.

Perhaps as much as any recent Red Sox player, he reflected the statistic-driven philosophy of owner John Henry and former General Manager Theo Epstein. Despite not being a fast or flashy athlete, Youkilis regularly ranked among the league leaders in on base percentage and pitches-per-plate appearance, two metrics considered important to a team's success by baseball statisticians. Youkilis was dubbed "The Greek God of Walks" by writer Michael Lewis in his popular book "Moneyball" for his uncanny ability to get on base.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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