Twenty-three months after making his MLB debut with the San Francisco Giants, Tommy John surgery survivor Eric Surkamp will return to the majors. Surkamp did not pitch at all in 2012 and has made just nine rehab starts this season, with mixed results. He is averaging just four innings per start, walking a career-high (but still respectable) three batters per nine innings, and striking out batters at a career-low (but still respectable) 8.2 per nine innings. Surkamp's ERA stands at an even 4.00 on the season, but Fangraph's fielding independent pitching metric suggests the lefty has been nearly a run better than that.
Surkamp is not likely to be back in the Giants' rotation for good, at least not yet. They have a doubleheader. Surkamp is on the 40-man roster. They need an arm. Five minutes after game one of the doubleheader he will most likely be optioned back to Fresno. Nonetheless, it will be good to see him back in the big leagues. And the fact that he has remained on the Giants' 40-man through nearly two years of rehab leads one to believe that he is still part of San Fran's long-term plans.
Despite having an idiot manager who thinks it's 1968 and plays lots of small ball--the Reds lead the NL in sacrifice bunts and keep on trying to steal bases despite getting gunned down in an NL-high 45% of their attempts--the Reds will bring a potent offense to AT&T Park. Cincy is third in runs scored and fourth in OPS in the NL. Surkamp has his work cut out for him, but the fact that most of Cincy's mashers are lefties (e.g. Votto, Bruce), and the fact that he will not be asked to go through the order but once or twice, should hopefully help him keep his club in the game.