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Rays net prospect Beeks from Sox for Eovaldi

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Nathan Eovaldi wasn't exactly suprised to find out that the Rays had traded him to the Red Sox on Wednesday for left-handed pitching prospect Jalen Beeks.

"I knew I was on the trading block," Eovaldi said. "... I assumed [getting traded] was a possibility, particularly where I am in my career and the way my contract was for this year. I assumed that I would get traded. As to what team it would be, I wasn't thinking about that at all."

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Nathan Eovaldi wasn't exactly suprised to find out that the Rays had traded him to the Red Sox on Wednesday for left-handed pitching prospect Jalen Beeks.

"I knew I was on the trading block," Eovaldi said. "... I assumed [getting traded] was a possibility, particularly where I am in my career and the way my contract was for this year. I assumed that I would get traded. As to what team it would be, I wasn't thinking about that at all."

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Eovaldi added: "[Still], everything's kind of swirling right now."

Eovaldi, 28, had been scheduled to start Wednesday afternoon's game against the Yankees. Right-hander Ryne Stanek stepped in to make the start and tossed a scoreless inning in the Rays' 3-2 win.

Getting traded is "pretty much the same every time," Eovaldi said. "They just told me I'd been traded, and it was to Boston. I just let [the Rays] know how thankful I was for the opportunity to come over here at that point of my career. To just take that year for recovery. I can't thank the Rays enough."

Video: MIA@TB: Eovaldi tosses six strong frames vs. Marlins

Eovaldi was reminded that he was going from a third-place team to a team with the best record in baseball.

"It's definitely exciting," Eovaldi said.

Eovaldi has experienced the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry from the Yanks' side, as he made 51 appearances for New York in two years with the team.

"Those [Yankees-Red Sox] games are definitely exciting," Eovaldi said. "The fans, it's kind of one of those indescribable feelings. The tensions are always high. It's always real good games, good series."

Eovaldi returned from Tommy John surgery (August 2016) and arthroscopic surgery (March 30) on his right elbow to make 10 starts for the Rays this season, going 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA. When Eovaldi made his season debut on May 30 at Oakland, he became the 12th pitcher to start in the Majors after multiple Tommy John surgeries. Of the pitchers who have done so, he is only the seventh to make at least five starts.

Video: Eovaldi discusses being traded to the Red Sox

Eovaldi allowed that his arrangement with the Rays had been mutually beneficial.

"I do think it was fair," said Eovaldi, who did not pitch for Tampa Bay in 2017. "They're getting a really good left-handed pitcher in return for me. ... There's a lot of talent over here for the Rays and they're headed in the right direction."

"He's a guy that's not making a lot of money. He's got a power arm. He throws strikes. Any contender has room for a guy like that," said Rays general manager Erik Neander on the demand for Eovaldi.

Beeks, 25, is on the 40-man roster, and his assignment is to be determined. He has totaled three days of Major League service time over two stints with the Red Sox this season, and he made his big league debut in a start on June 7 against the Tigers.

Rays thrilled to add Beeks' 'deep repertoire'

In 16 starts with Triple-A Pawtucket, Beeks is 5-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 117 strikeouts. Over five Minors seasons, Beeks is 34-28 with a 3.63 ERA in 96 appearances (94 starts). In 2017, he was named the Red Sox's Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Beeks was selected by the Red Sox in the 12th round of the 2014 Draft out of the University of Arkansas, where he was a teammate of Stanek for one season ('13).

The Rays had a busy morning.

Right-hander Chih-Wei Hu was optioned to Triple-A Durham, and left-hander Jonny Venters was activated to take his place. Venters entered the game on Wednesday in a ninth-inning double switch, and he retired Greg Bird on a groundout, In addition, right-hander Austin Pruitt was recalled from Durham to take Eovaldi's spot.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Jalen Beeks, Nathan Eovaldi