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MLB notes: Mets begin to trade veterans by sending Lucas Duda to Rays

The out-of-contention Mets started their veteran dispersal by trading first baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league pitcher Drew Smith.

Expected to contend for an NL East title, the Mets started Thursday night 47-52, 13 1/2 games behind first-place Washington and nine games out of a wild-card berth.

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Duda is eligible for free agency after the World Series, as are Mets outfielders Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, second baseman Neil Walker, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and relievers Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins.

The 31-year-old Duda is hitting .246 with 17 homers and 37 RBIs.

"It's one of those things. It happens," Duda said in San Diego. "Very blessed to be in the position that I am with the New York Mets. First class organization from top to bottom. I thank them for everything they did for me, and I'm excited to join the Rays. They're in the hunt and I think just overall excited."

Smith, a 23-year-old right-hander, was a third-round draft pick by Detroit two years ago and was dealt to Tampa Bay in April. He is 1-2 with a 1.60 ERA with seven saves in 31 games this season for four minor league teams ranging from Class-A to Triple-A.

Earlier Thursday, the Rays acquired left-hander Dan Jennings from the Chicago White Sox for minor league first baseman Casey Gillaspie, the 20th overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft and younger brother of San Francisco's Conor Gillaspie. The White Sox also placed All-Star outfielder Avisail Garcia on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb, and promoted outfielder Willy Garcia and left-hander Aaron Bummer from triple-A Charlotte before Thursday night's game against the Cubs.

Etc.

Stephen Strasburg has been placed on the 10-day disabled list by the Washington Nationals, who want the standout right-hander to rest his elbow by missing a turn in the rotation. The Nationals describe the injury as a "right elbow nerve impingement." The move, made Thursday, is retroactive to July 24. Manager Dusty Baker says Strasburg "is not feeling right." Strasburg is 10-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 20 games. He was removed from his last start after just two innings on July 23 in Arizona.

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