Veteran reliever Scott Downs was designated for assignment by the White Sox in a move that Dan Dayes of CSNChicago.com says came “much to the dismay of his teammates.”
Downs signed with the White Sox in January for $4.25 million and reported to camp in The Best Shape Of His Life, but it resulted in an ugly 6.08 ERA with 15 walks in 24 innings. As recently as last season Downs posted a 2.49 ERA in 43 innings for the Braves and Angels, so even at age 38 it’s possible he still has a little something left in the tank for a team in need of middle relief help.
Chicago felt he struggled too much versus right-handed hitters to trust Downs as more than a situational southpaw and they didn’t want to use a bullpen spot on a role that limited, which is why Triple-A left-hander Eric Surkamp was called up to replace him. Downs will no doubt pass through waivers unclaimed, because none of the other 29 teams will want to touch the $2.5 million or so remaining on his contract.
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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.