Angels trade for starter

Scott Kazmir was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night, giving the AL West leaders a major boost to their unsteady rotation.

The Angels acquired Kazmir, a two-time All-Star, for two minor leaguers and a player to be named. The left-hander was 8-7 with a 5.92 ERA this season for the defending AL champion Rays.

“This is a surprise. I had heard rumors before, but it’s hard to believe that it is now official,” Kazmir said after Tampa Bay’s 6-2 loss to Detroit. “It’s a disappointment because of all the relationships I’ve built in the organization and the city, but you can’t control the business side of the game.”

Tampa Bay receives left-hander Alex Torres and third baseman Matt Sweeney.

Looking to lock up their third straight division title, the Angels began the night four games ahead of second-place Texas. Tampa Bay was 31/2 out in the wild card race.

Because he was dealt before Aug. 31, Kazmir is eligible for postseason play with Los Angeles. He had to clear waivers to be traded.

Kazmir is earning $6 million this season in the first year of a $28.5 million, three-year deal he agreed to in May 2008. He is owed $8 million next season and $12 million in 2010, and his contract contains a $13.5 million club option for 2012 with a $2.5 million buyout.

Kazmir led the AL with 239 strikeouts in 2007.

All season, Los Angeles has been piecing together a rotation beset by injuries to John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and Kelvim Escobar, and the tragic death of Nick Adenhart. Lackey can become a free agent after the season.

Short hops

The Twins acquired 6-foot-11 Jon Rauch, the tallest player in baseball history, from the Diamondbacks on Friday to help their beleaguered bullpen. Rauch, 30, went 2-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 54-plus innings for Arizona. He walked 17 and struck out 35 in 58 games this season. …

Nyjer Morgan of the Nationals was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a broken left hand, a day after he was injured stealing third base in a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs. … The Indians have acquired right-hander Yohan Pino from Minnesota, completing the trade that sent Carl Pavano to the Twins. …

The Giants have optioned right-hander Joe Martinez to Triple-A Fresno and brought up lefty reliever Alex Hinshaw to provide a much-needed arm in their overworked bullpen. Hinshaw, who was on San Francisco’s opening day roster for the fifth time in his career and pitched in seven games, appeared in 46 games for Fresno this season and posted a 3.96 ERA. …

The Rangers have signed free agent Ryan Freel to a minor league contract. He has played a combined 41 games for Baltimore, Kansas City and the Chicago Cubs. He hit .193 with five RBI.