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August 25, 2009

Former promising Sox pitcher trying to salvage career

LOWELL — It was just over two years ago that Kason Gabbard was a fan-favorite for the Boston Red Sox, then became the centerpiece of a trade for a former Cy Young winner.

But for the better part of July and August this season, Gabbard called LeLacheur Park's mound home.

The once promising Sox and Texas Rangers lefthander is currently working to resurrect his career, spending more than a month with the Single-A Lowell Spinners before recently being promoted to Double-A Portland.

"When he got back from Texas his delivery and mechanics were a mess," said Spinners manager Gary DiSarcina. "His fastball was inconsistent, his delivery was inconsistent and he wasn't finishing his fastball. But he has progressed."

Gabbard was drafted by the Red Sox in the 29th round in 2000, and spent six seasons working through Boston's minor league system.

On July 21, 2006, after Tim Wakefield was placed on the disabled list, Gabbard was promoted to Boston. He appeared in seven games, four starts, going a 1-3 with an impressive 3.51 ERA.

He opened the 2007 season at Pawtucket, but was once again summoned to Boston when ace Curt Schilling was placed on the DL. And Gabbard did not disappoint.

In seven starts for the Sox, he was 4-0 with a 3.73 ERA, including a complete-game, three-hit shutout against Kansas City and allowing one run and three hits over seven innings against the Chicago White Sox.

But Gabbard's career was thrown into turmoil when, on July 31, 2007 he was traded along with minor league outfielder David Murphy to the Texas Rangers for closer Eric Gagne, who was then sporting a 2.16 ERA with 16 saves.

"The trade was shocking because it happened so fast," said Gabbard. "Being traded is part of the business. I just had to go out and pitch a couple days later."

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