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Welcome back, Eric Surkamp

The young left-hander is on the mend, pitching two perfect innings for San Jose on Wednesday.

Tony Medina

If you don't read minor lines every day, you probably should. It's where you find stuff like this:

In his third pro game, Posey, the fifth overall pick in this year's draft, had his first multi-hit line as a pro. Ziegler had his 7th HR and 16th double to raise his AVG to .270.

Yeah, that's right. C.J. Ziegler. Hey, other than a misstep with Tabasco last year, he's been tearing up the independent leagues. Oh, and that was the first appearance of Buster Posey, too, who has been a positive addition to the Giants organization, though it's still early.

But you don't have to follow minor lines for the franchise-defining players. You can find some optimism in lines that aren't as obvious. For example …

Appearing (for San Jose) in his first game in over a year, Surkamp had 3 K in 2.0 perfect IP.

That would be Eric Surkamp, and he used to be a player of interest. The progression, in case you had forgotten:

  • Surkamp struck the entire Sally League out several times over, exhibiting good control
  • Then he struck the Cal League out, exhibiting good control
  • Then he struck the Eastern League out, exhibiting good control
  • Then he couldn't strike anyone out in the majors, exhibiting awful control
  • Somewhere up there, he got hurt, which explained his bad trial in the majors.
  • A few months went by. He was apparently really hurt, needing Tommy John surgery
  • Matt Cain pitched a perfect game, other good things happened
  • Everybody forgot about Surkamp

Heck, I'm guilty of that. When the Giants were considering a 40-man-roster move a couple weeks ago, I didn't think it would be a big problem because they could always just roll Surkamp's cadaver onto the 60-day DL, freeing up a spot. But the Giants didn't want to do that because they knew Surkamp was close. And without knowing the medical particulars of Surkamp's recovery, I'd wager that he's closer to the majors than his San Jose rehab assignment might indicate. His last stop before the injury was the majors, after all. And the Giants' pitching has been ...

/checks FanGraphs

... shaky this year. Don't make me look up the stats. As long as Chad Gaudin is pitching well (kind of a big conditional clause), there isn't going to be a huge need in the rotation. Lincecum looked pretty good in his last start. Cain is Cain, and Bumgarner is Bumgarner. And while Zito is Zito is Zito, that's almost certainly better than any other internal option the Giants have right now. So there isn't a spot opening up soon unless Gaudin falters, and even then, Ryan Vogelsong should be back around the All-Star break.

Add in that the Giants are probably going to be cautious with Surkamp's rehab, stretching him out a little bit at a time in the Cal League, and there's about a two-percent chance we see him this year.

But it's a two-percent chance I didn't think we had yesterday. Surkamp was one of my favorite prospects before he was hurt, and now he's back. Minor lines usually has a little good news every morning, but this was one of my favorite developments of the year.

Doesn't hurt that he didn't allow the ball out of the infield, either.