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Eovaldi excited to join Boston's pennant race

Right-hander throws bullpen session in advance of Sunday start
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- A day after being traded within the division -- from the Rays to the Red Sox and from third place to first -- Nathan Eovaldi joined his new team at Fenway Park in preparation for his debut on Sunday against the Twins.

The righty is thrilled to be playing for a team that started Thursday with a 71-32 record, the best in the Majors.

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BOSTON -- A day after being traded within the division -- from the Rays to the Red Sox and from third place to first -- Nathan Eovaldi joined his new team at Fenway Park in preparation for his debut on Sunday against the Twins.

The righty is thrilled to be playing for a team that started Thursday with a 71-32 record, the best in the Majors.

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"I'm very excited about joining the Red Sox," Eovaldi said. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity they're giving me. I know they gave up a big prospect in [Jalen] Beeks for me, so yeah, I'm super excited to be here."

To make room for Eovaldi on the roster, the Red Sox optioned righty reliever Brandon Workman to Triple-A Pawtucket. Workman had pitched well since being recalled from Pawtucket on June 5, posting a 2.89 ERA and holding opponents to a .217 average in 21 appearances.

"Sometimes it's numbers games," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Obviously he wasn't too thrilled about it, which I understand. But with [Brian Johnson] here and we've got Hector [Velazquez] that we can use for multiple innings, it just happens. He'll be back. I don't know how soon, obviously. But he'll be back, and he's an important part of what we're trying to accomplish."

The one silver lining is that the Red Sox can make sure Workman gets enough rest at Triple-A.

"We'll make sure he's in the program, kind of like to slow him down a little bit," Cora said. "We use him a lot here. We got to be sure when he comes back, he's fresh, but we know he's going to contribute."

Video: Dombrowski, Cora discuss Eovaldi trade

Eovaldi is wearing No. 17 for Boston. It was a bit surreal for him to be in an interview room at Fenway Park just a day after he was at Tropicana Field preparing for a start against the Yankees that he was scratched from due to the trade. Eovaldi was busy upon arrival, taking part in scouting meetings and throwing a bullpen session.

"It's definitely been a lot the last day," Eovaldi said. "We packed up the house, my wife and I ... well mainly she did, she did a lot of it, so I thank her. And then yeah, the travel getting in today, the delay from the weather in Tampa and then getting out there and throwing my 'pen because I'm going to be throwing Sunday, scratched yesterday from the game so I wanted to get a little session in and everything feels good."

After missing all of last season due to Tommy John surgery, Eovaldi has made 10 starts this year, going 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA. His fastball has been sitting in the mid to upper 90s.

"I feel healthy and 100 percent ready to go. I try not to think about past surgeries," Eovaldi said. "Just with the whole rehab process, you're out for so long and you put in all that work to get healthy and stay healthy, and I want to trust the work I've put in that I'll stay healthy and not have any more injuries, and hopefully take the ball every five, four days, pitching every fifth day and help the team win."

Wright feeling better
There was some good news on the Steven Wright front. The knuckleballer is feeling some improvement in the surgically repaired left knee that was problematic enough to put him on the disabled list on June 26.

"He told me today he feels a lot better, so we'll probably sit down later with [trainer] Brad [Pearson] and [pitching coach] Dana [LeVangie] and Steven and see what's the next step," Cora said. "I asked him how he's feeling, he said, 'I feel a lot better.' I guess working here with [physical therapist] Jamie [Creps] helped him out. Hopefully we can get him back to baseball activities, and just like Eduardo [Rodriguez], have it happen sooner rather than later."

Cora annoyed by logistics of rainout
A day later, Cora was still irritated that the Red Sox played fewer than two innings on Wednesday in Baltimore, only to have a 5-0 lead washed out permanently when the game was postponed. It will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Aug. 11.

David Price pitched just one inning. He effectively misses an entire turn through the rotation, and will slot back in on Monday night against the Phillies.

Cora is of the belief that a game that starts and falls short of an official game should be continued whenever the makeup game is, rather than starting from scratch. But his biggest problem is that the game started in the first place, given the weather forecast.

"They decided to start the game and then that happened, and you put the whole team in a tough situation," Cora said. "You talk about having the lead, but if we would have played at 10:30, 10:45, probably we would have had no bullpen for today. You lose a starter, first of all, and then you have to burn your bullpen 24 outs and then you have a four-game series against a team that is swinging the bat well and you have to stay away from certain guys."

The rain wound up stopping shortly after the decision was made to postpone it. Cora's preference would have been just to wait for the rain to pass entirely before playing, even if that meant starting the game as late as 10:45 p.m.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi