As expected, the White Sox' dour bullpen suffered a casualty today. For the third straight season, the Opening Day roster's primary LOOGY did not see the end of June as Scott Downs was designated for assignment.
The lefty has struggled with control all season and never really got into a groove. A poor series in Baltimore sealed his fate. He departs with an ERA of 6.08 and a WHIP of 1.648 on the season. Left-handed batters had a .224/.309/.367 line against him which isn't all that strong, but since retiring lefties is a LOOGY's primary purpose, the White Sox expected better out of that roster spot. Downs pitched in his 38th game yesterday and he had a $4.25 million option for 2015 that would vest after 55 appearances. It wasn't looking like retaining Downs for next season would be a great idea, so cutting bait after a rough couple of games seemed like a natural course of action.
The White Sox promoted Eric Surkamp from Triple-A Charlotte to take Downs' spot on the 25-man roster. The 26 year-old lefty was 3-4 with a 4.54 ERA for the Knights, but has been particularly strong of late. Over his last four starts, he owns a 2.63 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 24 innings. As Jim alluded to this morning, he seemed to be the most likely candidate for a promotion.