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White Sox claim Surkamp, lose Morel to Blue Jays

White Sox claim Surkamp, lose Morel to Blue Jays

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White Sox claim Surkamp, lose Morel to Blue Jays

CHICAGO -- The White Sox added greater depth at the back end of their starting rotation by claiming left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp off waivers from the San Francisco Giants as announced by the team Monday.

Surkamp, 26, is ranked 11th in MLB.com's list of Top 20 White Sox prospects. He combined to go 7-1 with a 2.80 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 86 2/3 innings and 16 starts between Class A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno during the 2013 season. Surkamp limited left-handers to a .219 average (16-for-73), while righties hit just .208 (48-for-231).

His best season came in '11, when Surkamp finished 11-4 with a 1.94 ERA and 178 strikeouts over 24 games (23 starts) with San Jose and Double-A Richmond. He topped the Eastern League with a 2.02 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, ranked second in strikeouts and tied for fifth in wins.

Originally selected by the Giants in the sixth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of North Carolina State, the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder has made seven Major League starts over the '11 and '13 seasons. He has produced a 2-3 record with a 7.36 ERA and 58 baserunners allowed in 29 1/3 innings after making his debut on Aug. 27, 2011.

He began last season on the disabled list after missing the entire '12 campaign following ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow on July 24, 2012.

Third baseman Brent Morel also was claimed by the Blue Jays on waivers Monday, which made room for Surkamp. The team's 40-man roster is at 40, although a spot will need to be opened when the Scott Downs deal becomes official.

Morel, 26, was the White Sox third-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He made his mark through solid defense and an eight-homer September in '11, vaulting him into the starter's job moving into '12. But Morel battled back problems throughout the entire campaign during which he hit .177 with no home runs.

Although Morel fought his way back to full health, he fell out of the mix with the White Sox recent acquisition of Matt Davidson to go with Conor Gillaspie, Jeff Keppinger and Marcus Semien already on the depth chart at the position.

Chris Sale and Jose Quintana sit at the top of the White Sox rotation, followed by John Danks and Erik Johnson at three and four. Felipe Paulino, a right-hander who the White Sox agreed to terms with on a one-year deal with an option for '15, is expected to be ready for the start of the '14 season after undergoing ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow on July 3, 2012.

Adding Surkamp in with right-hander Andre Rienzo gives the White Sox another option so they don't have to rush back Paulino. It also gives them a little more room to operate if they choose to move another starter after trading Hector Santiago to acquire Adam Eaton as part of a three-team deal with the D-backs and Angels.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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