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Cubs acquire Ian Stewart in four-player trade with Rockies

‘‘Stewart’s guy we first circled beginning offseasas very good fit’’ Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said former Rockies third baseman

‘‘Stewart’s the guy we first circled at the beginning of the offseason as a very good fit,’’ Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said of former Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart. | John Bazemore~AP

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Updated: January 10, 2012 8:30AM

DALLAS — In a four-player deal involving three former first-round draft picks and a second-rounder, the Cubs acquired once-promising third baseman Ian Stewart and relief prospect Casey Weathers from the Colorado Rockies for outfielder Tyler Colvin and infielder DJ LeMahieu.

The Cubs are counting on a change of scenery and still-promising skills to help spark a comeback for the left-handed hitting Stewart, whose batting average dropped from .256 to .156 and whose home runs fell from 18 to zero in 2011.

Like Colvin, a first-round pick, Stewart split time in 2011 between the big leagues and Class AAA. Stewart and Weathers are also first-rounders.

‘‘Stewart’s the guy we first circled at the beginning of the offseason as a very good fit,’’ Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. ‘‘Obviously it was a very disappointing 2011 season, but we felt there’s a ton of potential in there. He’s a left-handed bat, he’s the right age, he’s affordable, controllable. We expect big things out of Ian.

‘‘It was difficult to part with the two players we parted with. They’re homegrown and contributed a lot to the organization. But to be able to acquire a player at a position that’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill, we felt like it was the right move.’’

The Cubs originally didn’t want to include LeMahieu, who made his big-league debut last year, according to a source. Referring to Colvin, one Rockies source said Wednesday, ‘‘It’s going to take more than that.’’

Colvin hit .256 with 20 homers as a rookie in 2010 before falling off dramatically from spring training and through the season.

Stewart was bothered late last season by a wrist injury that lingered into the winter, but Hoyer said that the wrist was OKd by team doctors and that Stewart has returned to baseball activities.

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