As trade rumors swirl, Eovaldi back in rotation

As trade rumors swirl, Eovaldi back in rotation

NEW YORK -- Nathan Eovaldi thought he was untradeable. That's what everyone was telling him, anyway, as he worked his way through the Dodgers' organization after getting selected in the 11th round of the 2008 Draft. Then, on July 25, 2012, the hard-throwing righty was dealt to the Marlins.

"We were on the road at the time, too, so luckily I had a big suitcase, because we had a long trip so I had a lot of my stuff with me," said Eovaldi, whose name has been reportedly floated in trade talks with the Pirates. "They just call you, 'Hey, you're traded.' That's it."

A similar scenario could play out in the near future for Eovaldi, who is transitioning back to the Yankees' rotation after a July demotion to the bullpen. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel reported Saturday that the Pirates have been in talks with the Yankees for the 26-year-old Eovaldi.

Eovaldi, of course, pledged his devotion to the Yankees when asked about being moved. But after going 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 2015, Eovaldi pitched his way out of the rotation in the first half of this season.

Eovaldi's most recent start was unimpressive. On July 1, he lasted just 4 1/3 innings and was pulled after allowing six earned runs on seven hits and three walks. Eovaldi has appeared in the bullpen three times since, the most recent being Friday night in the Yankees' 5-3 loss to the Red Sox.

Eovaldi pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in what will probably be his final outing before returning to the rotation July 19 against Baltimore. Chad Green made two spot starts in his place.

"I told you all along we looked at him as a starter," manager Joe Girardi said, "and at the time that I moved him to the bullpen, we needed some help there. He did a really good job on [July 10] and he's going back into the rotation."

Eovaldi's recent foray to the bullpen wasn't completely foreign, though. At Alvin High School in Texas, he'd start on Friday nights and come out of the bullpen on Tuesdays.

"I threw a lot, but [I] always enjoyed starting the most," Eovaldi said.

The Dodgers seemed to think he was pretty good at it, too. Eovaldi made his first Major League appearance in 2011, and he then started 2012 in the Minors before returning to the big club in May.

After the trade to the Marlins, he was sent to the Yankees before the 2015 campaign. Now, with the Bombers in the midst of a crucial homestretch and the non-waiver Trade Deadline looming Aug. 1, Eovaldi could be on the move again.

That's not on his mind, though. In three days, he's got a start to make against the American League East-leading Orioles.

"If it happens it happens, but I feel like I've got a really good connection with all these guys," Eovaldi said. "You come up with the team, you want to finish with the team, you want to finish on top."

Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.