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D-backs trade 2 pitchers to complete Souza deal

Right fielder could return this weekend; Arizona trying to determine Ray's replacement
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- The D-backs sent right-hander Sam McWilliams and lefty Colin Poche to the Rays on Tuesday to complete the three-team Steven Souza Jr. trade from Feb. 20.

In addition to sending Anthony Banda to the Rays and infielder Brandon Drury to the Yankees in that deal, the D-backs were required to send to players to be named later to the Rays. The Rays were able to choose from a list of players and chose McWilliams and Poche, both of whom were off to good starts.

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PHOENIX -- The D-backs sent right-hander Sam McWilliams and lefty Colin Poche to the Rays on Tuesday to complete the three-team Steven Souza Jr. trade from Feb. 20.

In addition to sending Anthony Banda to the Rays and infielder Brandon Drury to the Yankees in that deal, the D-backs were required to send to players to be named later to the Rays. The Rays were able to choose from a list of players and chose McWilliams and Poche, both of whom were off to good starts.

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McWilliams was 1-1 with a 2.10 ERA for Class A Visalia and Poche had thrown 11 scoreless innings with 23 strikeouts and two walks for Double-A Jackson.

Souza has not yet appeared in a regular season game after straining his right pectoral muscle while trying to make a diving catch during Spring Training. He is getting closer to a return, though.

"We like both guys," D-backs GM Mike Hazen said of McWilliams and Poche. "But we made the deal and it was all part of us understanding that we were going to have to give up two more guys when the whole deal came together. Hopefully we see Souza soon, and then everybody will see all sides of the trade out there on the field."

The D-backs also received righty Taylor Widener, who is currently pitching for Jackson, in the deal.

"He's done a good job," Hazen said. "He's as advertised by our scouts. He's got a good fastball, a good slider. He's performed well in Double-A so far. He's off to a good start. He's doing a good job. Getting a lot of swings and misses."

Souza this weekend?
Souza played in the field for the first time during an extended spring game Tuesday and D-backs manager Torey Lovullo was asked if Souza could return by the weekend.

"It's looking very good," Lovullo said. "I don't want to say an exact target date. I know [Wednesday's] an important day. He's going to ramp up a little bit more. But it's looking pretty positive. We're all happy about where he's at."

Replacing Robbie
The D-backs say they have not decided on who will start in place of Robbie Ray when his turn comes up in the rotation. The left-hander was placed on the DL Monday after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 right oblique strain.

Right-hander Kris Medlen was scratched from his Triple-A Reno start Monday, but that doesn't mean he will definitely take Ray's place.

It's possible he could be used in relief if the D-backs decide to start reliever T.J. McFarland. Or they could go with Reno's Braden Shipley.

"Combinations of those things could all become option," Hazen said. "Or, like with [Matt Koch], if we have someone come up and take a start and they lock down a spot, we're open to that, too."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Steven Souza Jr.