The Oakland Athletics will call up left-hander Eric Surkamp to start Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Twins, A's manager Bob Melvin says (via Joe Stiglich, CSN). He takes Zach Neal's place in the rotation after Neal made one start last Wednesday, allowing seven runs in four innings, and pitched an inning in relief on Saturday.
It appears the Zach Neal experiment was merely a matter of necessity. Surkamp was not eligible to be recalled from the disabled list last Wednesday because he had been optioned to the minor leagues within the previous 10 days, and the A's had elected not to call him up when they put Sonny Gray on the disabled list in order to carry an extra reliever for a few days.
Surkamp, though an uninspiring choice as the club's 9th starter (considering injuries to Sonny Gray, Chris Bassitt, Henderson Alvarez, and Jarrod Parker), potentially allows the A's to keep prospects like Daniel Mengden and Dillon Overton in the minor leagues without all the service time and option year implications a call up would bring. Upcoming off days allow the A's to only need a fifth starter on Tuesday and then two weeks after that on June 14.
The A's expect Sonny Gray to be back shortly after he is eligible to return from the disabled list on June 5, reports MLB.com's Jane Lee, so they may only need the one start.
Eric Surkamp has made five MLB starts and has a 6.55 ERA with 12 strikeouts and 14 walks. With Triple-A Nashville this year, Surkamp has a 3.91 ERA with 28 strikeouts and eight walks. In two starts since returning to Nashville, he has allowed seven runs in 11 innings with 12 strikeouts and two walks.