The following story is from the Associated Press (updated at 5:12 p.m.):
CLEVELAND — With Eric Gagne finally pitching like his old self following two elbow operations and back surgery, the Boston Red Sox acquired the reliever on Tuesday from the Texas Rangers.
Once one of baseball’s premier closers, Gagne joined a Boston bullpen that already had two All-Star relievers: closer Jonathan Papelbon and setup man Hideki Okajima. Unidentified major league sources told NESN that Gagne agreed to waive his no-trade clause and agreed to serve as the team’s set-up man.
But the Red Sox, who entered Tuesday leading the AL East by eight games over the New York Yankees, didn’t want to take any chances of blowing their big lead and acquired Gagne to bolster the back end of their bullpen after consecutive implosions last weekend by Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen. The Red Sox also got bad news about reliever Brendan Donnelly, who will need season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Boston sent lefthander Kason Gabbard and minor league outfielders David Murphy and Engel Beltre to the Rangers, who were the busiest team in the majors before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. EDT non-waiver trade deadline. Texas also will cover part of what remains on Gagne’s contract.
Milwaukee, clinging to its NL Central lead, also had been interested in obtaining Gagne.
Gagne signed a $6 million, one-year contract with the Rangers in December after eight successful seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He went 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 16 saves for last-place Texas, which began a three-game series in Cleveland 15.5 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
The 31-year-old Gagne was a three-time All-Star and won the NL Cy Young Award in 2003 when he saved 55 games for the Dodgers.
He had 45 saves in 2004 but was limited to just 14 the following season because of elbow problems that eventually needed surgery. The hard-throwing native of Montreal pitched in only two games last season as he tried to come back from another elbow operation as well as surgery to repair a herniated disk.
From 2002-04, Gagne set a major league record by converting 84 consecutive saves. He’ll likely be used in a setup role for the Red Sox, which joined the chase for Gagne after seeing him pitch consecutive days, further proof that he’s healthy.