Surkamp Has Unfortunate Timing

Lefty was poised to move quickly





SAN FRANCISCO—Eric Surkamp's injury couldn't have come at a worse time.

He was probably making his last start at high Class A San Jose on July 18, ticketed for a promotion to Double-A Richmond, when he partially dislocated his hip while fielding a ground ball at Lancaster. Surkamp had surgery in mid-August to repair torn cartilage and tighten his labrum, ending his season.

If not for the freak injury two days after his 23rd birthday, Surkamp easily would have led all Giants minor leaguers in strikeouts for the second consecutive season. He fanned 108 in 101 innings for San Jose, fulfilling expectations he had set the previous season when he was promoted late for the Cal League playoffs and punched out 12 in the title game.

Of course, the Giants knew Surkamp's advanced feel for pitching and stuff would be no match for hitters in the low minors. The real test was to come at Double-A and above.

"He was moving along really well before he got hurt," pitching coordinator Bert Bradley said. "He's mature, but he needed to learn how to pitch."

That's because coaches at North Carolina State didn't want Surkamp to throw his fastball too often. His curve was such a good pitch that they wanted him to keep attacking hitters with it. Surkamp mostly threw in the upper 80s.

Surkamp isn't expected to throw hard, but he was starting to add velocity at San Jose, cracking 90-91 mph with regularity. With a little more fastball command, Surkamp was developing all the tools to be a mid-rotation starter.

GIANTICS

• The Giants drafted three players in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. Lefthander Justin Dowdy, selected from the Rays in the Triple-A phase, had 19 strikeouts in 17 relief innings (25 outings) pitching winter ball in Mexico.

• In the Double-A phase, the Giants picked up righthander Matthew Sartor from the Dodgers and catcher Dashenko Ricardo—who will be converted to pitcher—from the Orioles. Sartor, 26, is a 6-foot-6, 250-pounder with a 93 mph fastball.