Bay Area Baseball

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July 22, 2013
Giants, Reds lineups: Surkamp will start first game Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy made it official a little while ago -- Eric Surkamp will start the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader in the left-hander's first game back in Sacramento since having Tommy John surgery last July. Barry Zito will get the nightcap, which will be the game in which the Reds bat last and the Giants wear their road jerseys.

"He's the freshest guy and we just think that's our best choice," Bochy said of Surkamp. Both teams can add a 26th player to their roster for the doubleheader, so the Giants won't need to send anybody down to make room for Surkamp.

It will be nearly a year to the day since Surkamp went under the knife. Surkamp was with the Giants in spring training during his rehab and has made nine minor-league starts this year, including the last four at Triple-A Fresno. His most recent was his roughest -- 4 2/3 innings allowing 10 hits and six runs against Tacoma on July 18.

"My last two I struggled with location a little," Surkamp said. "It's just one of those things coming off surgery, you're going to have your ups and downs. My arm is back to 100 percent, but just getting out there and repeating mechanics every time and stuff like that is just part of the process."

Bochy said reports on Surkamp's outings are that "overall they've been pretty good. Occasionally you get off with your mechanics, but he's been up here, he's got some experience. We'll have the bullpen there to help him out. But he's come a long way."

Surkamp went 2-2 in six starts for the Giants toward the end of the 2011 season and was an outside candidate for a rotation spot last season before his arm troubles cropped up. He had Tommy John last July 24 and said Monday that: "It's been a long past year" going through the rehab process to get back to San Francisco.

"This year's been a lot easier than it was last year with spring training -- I was kind of a part of that, throwing bullpens and stuff," Surkamp said. "Just glad to be back."

Surkamp, who grew up in the Cincinnati area rooting for the Reds, said starting against his hometown team won't add any particular significance to tomorrow's start. But he will have his parents, John and Maureen, and his sister Allison in attendance.

"Whenever you're coming up here after pitching in the minor leagues, it's obviously a big deal," he said. "Can't really say it's just another game. I'm super excited to be up here and try to get a win for the team."

As for tonight's series opener against the Reds, it's Tim Lincecum making his first start since his no-hitter in San Diego. Here's the lineup the Giants have behind him:

LF Blanco
2B Scutaro
C Posey
3B Sandoval
RF Pence
1B Belt
CF Torres
SS Crawford
P Lincecum

And the Reds lineup against Lincecum:

CF Choo
LF Heisey
1B Votto
2B Phillips
RF Bruce
3B Frazier
SS Cozart
C Mesoraco
P Arroyo

* A couple things on the doubleheader: According to an email from the Giants' media relations staff, official baseball rules state that when a rescheduled game is part of a doubleheader, the rescheduled game is always the second game, which explains why the Giants will wear their home uniforms in the first game and then switch for the second.

But -- even though the Reds will bat last in the second game, for statistical purposes the Giants are considered the home team, meaning the Giants at the end of the season will have played 82 home games and the Reds will have played 80. Not a huge deal, but just for clerical purposes.

The first game will start at 4:05 p.m., with the second game starting 30 minutes after the end of the first game but no earlier than 7:15 p.m.

* Bochy was asked about why he has been having Andres Torres play center and Gregor Blanco in left when both are in the game together. His answer was Blanco is probably the more comfortable of the two in left field, which sometimes gives outfielders tougher reads off the bat. Torres, meanwhile, has played a lot of center field in the past few years and Bochy said he has been "really good out there."

* Joaquin Arias (appendicitis) is eligible to come off the DL Tuesday, but Bochy said that's not likely to happen. Arias was going to take ground balls and batting practice before today's game. Incidentally, Bochy said the already thin Arias has lost about nine pounds since the surgery.

"And if you look at Joaquin," Bochy said, "he can't afford to lose nine pounds. So we'll see today how he handles swinging and ground balls."

* Happy birthday to Ryan Vogelsong, who turns 36 today and tomorrow is headed to Arizona to pitch in a game for the first time since fracturing his throwing hand. Bochy said Vogelsong is scheduled to throw two innings or about 35 pitches.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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