By Jon Weisman
Eric Surkamp, whom the Dodgers acquired May 23 from the White Sox for minor-leaguer Blake Smith, has been brought up from Triple-A Oklahoma City for tonight’s game for Los Angeles in place of the injured Carlos Frias.
Surkamp will not start, however. Instead, relief pitcher Yimi Garcia will make his first official MLB start, with the Dodgers possibly then playing a platoon switcheroo and bringing Surkamp in for early long relief. It’s possible the Dodgers could even go through tonight’s game without having the pitcher bat, giving them a psuedo-designated hitter.
Garcia has pitched a career-high two innings four times, most recently June 15 against Texas. His career high in pitches for one game is 33, set September 14 against San Diego. His last professional start came in 2011 with Rookie League Ogden.
The 24-year-old hasn’t pitched since July 1, except for a five-pitch outing Saturday. From June 7-27, he had a 0.79 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings, while stranding all five inherited runners. But in three outings since then, Garcia has allowed four runs on five hits in two innings.
Daniel Coulombe has been optioned to Oklahoma City for the sixth time this year, and Paco Rodriguez has moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day to make room for Surkamp on the 40-man roster.
For a variety of health and scheduling reasons, Scott Baker, Brandon Beachy, Zach Lee, Ian Thomas and Joe Wieland were among the other minor-league starting pitchers unavailable to make today’s start.
In 53 2/3 career MLB innings, Surkamp — who turns 28 in 10 days — has a 6.20 ERA with 33 strikeouts against 98 baserunners. He pitched 35 big-league games in relief in 2013, and his last MLB start was July 23, 2013. He has never pitched in Dodger Stadium.
His best Major League outing was his first, when he allowed one run in six innings on August 27, 2011 for the Giants against Houston, striking out four.
Over his past five starts with Oklahoma City, all in June, the lefty has had a 2.89 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Surkamp pitched for the White Sox against the Dodgers on Opening Day of Cactus League play this year, allowing a run in two innings on two hits, including a Joc Pederson double.
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