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  1. Rays

Rays trade Nathan Eovaldi to Red Sox

Nathan Eovaldi said he was "excited" to be joining the AL East leading Red Sox. {BRONTE WITTPENN | Times]
Nathan Eovaldi said he was "excited" to be joining the AL East leading Red Sox. {BRONTE WITTPENN | Times]
Published Jul. 25, 2018
Updated Jul. 25, 2018

The Rays made the first of several expected trade deadline moves this morning, trading RHP Nathan Eovaldi to the Red Sox for LHP Jalen Beeks.

Eovaldi was slated to start today for the Rays against the Yankees.

"I knew I was on the trading block," Eovaldi said. "I guess my initial reaction when they first said I got traded, I was like  oh, because I feel like I've developed such a relationship with all the guys here, and all the opportunity that the Rays gave me to come back and recover from my surgery.

"But then again when they said it was Boston I can't help but be excited about that. First place in out division, that says a lot. … Really excited to going over there and helping that team."

Eovaldi (3-4, 4.26 in 10 starts) said he was focused on today's start and had no idea a deal was coming down until manager Kevin Cash called him into the office around 10:30.

"I was just about ready to start getting ready for the start when he called me in," Eovaldi said. "Everything is kind of swirling right now."

RHP Ryne Stanek will take his place as the opener in what will be another bullpen day for the Rays.

To take Eovaldi's place on the roster, the Rays called up RHP Austin Pruitt, who was already in town as they were obviously prepared. The Rays  earlier activated LHP Jonny Venters off the DL and sent down RHP Chih-Wei Hu.

Beeks made his major-league debut in June with the Red Sox. In 16 starts at Triple-A Pawtucket he is 5-5, 2.89, with 117 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings. He was the Red Sox's minor-league pitcher of the year in 2017, going 11-8, 3.29 between Double-A and Triple-A.

Over parts of five minor-league seasons, Beeks is 34-28, 3.63 in 96 games (94 starts). He was a 12th round pick in 2014 from Arkansas, where he was a teammate of Stanek, and was rated Boston's No. 6 prospect in Baseball America's mid-season update.

Eovaldi has pitched well since his late May return to action, spending all of 2017 rehabbing from a second Tommy John surgery, then undergoing an arthroscopic procedure March 30 to remove loose bodies from his elbow.

He was headed to free agency, and likely a hefty multi-year pay day, after the season so a trade was expected.