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David O'Brien

HoRamirez hired as coaching asst.; Braves trade for Stewart

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Former Braves pitcher Horacio Ramirez has been hired as a coaching assistant in a new position created in response to the expanded new replay system being introduced in the majors this season. During games, he will watch games on monitors in the clubhouse and call the dugout to let Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez know when he should challenge a reviewable umpiring decision.

By hiring Ramirez for the position, the Braves also have a left-hander who can throw batting practice and assist with other on-field duties before all games.

“I think it’s a great (hire),” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. “We’ve been kicking this around, this (position), ever since the replay stuff came out…. He’s a guy that’s been in our organization. Tremendous guy, and a guy that wants to get into the coaching end of it a little bit. He can shadow (pitching coach) Roger (McDowell), help Roger with the pitching and all that kind of stuff. I think he was a great choice for us.

“We had him with a walkie-talkie today, we had him in here, going back and forth, trying to get that communication down.”

Ramirez, 34, went 40-35 with a 4.65 ERA in eight major league seasons, including 30-22 with a 4.13 ERA in four seasons with the Braves. He last pitched in the majors with the Angels in 2011, and pitched in Mexico last season.

Selected by the Braves in the fifth round of the 1997 draft out of Inglewood (Calif.) High School, Ramirez played parts of 10 professionaly seasons in the Braves organization. As a Braves rookie in 2003, he went 12-4 with a 4.00 ERA in 29 starts.

Stewart trade: The Braves added some depth by getting well-traveled right-hander Zach Stewart from the White Sox in exchange for cash considerations. Stewart, 27, was 6-14 with a 4.25 ERA in 28 starts in Triple-A last season and wasn’t on the White Sox’ 40-man roster. He’ll likely be assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett. He went 3-10 with a 6.82 ERA in 33 major league games (14 starts) in 2011-2012 with the Blue Jays, White Sox and Red Sox.

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