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White Sox cut reliever Scott Downs, call up lefty Eric Surkamp



The facts: 6:07 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The pitchers: John Danks (6-6, 4.34 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (6-6, 4.04).

Updated: June 27, 2014 12:10AM

TORONTO — The White Sox cut ties with a free-agent bust for the second time in about a month Thursday, designating Scott Downs for assignment and calling up Eric Surkamp from Class AAA Charlotte.

Downs, 38, was ineffective as a left-handed relief specialist. He had a 6.08 ERA.

“It just didn’t work, being able to just get the one guy,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.

The Sox get younger with Surkamp, 26, who was 3-4 with a 4.54 ERA and an International League-high 84 strikeouts in 731/3 innings and 14 games (11 starts) with Charlotte. The Sox claimed him on waivers after two unsuccessful and brief runs as a starter with the Giants. Surkamp was named IL Pitcher of the Week for June 16-22 after going 1-0 with an ERA of 0.64 in two starts.

“We need something more than a guy coming in to get one guy,’’ Ventura said. “With Eric coming up, what he’s been doing recently, he gives us that length we really need at this point.’’

Surkamp pitched a scoreless sixth inning against the Jays in the Sox’ 7-0 loss and was charged with a run in the seventh after Edwin Encarnacion doubled against Andre Rienzo.

Downs signed for $4.25 ­million with a club option for next season.

The Sox also bit the bullet on infielder Jeff Keppinger, 34, who had two years left on his three-year, $12 million deal, on May 21. Free agent Felipe Paulino, 30, who signed for a year at $1.75 million, has been hurt and isn’t expected to return.

Eaton leaves game in first

Center fielder Adam Eaton left the game in the first inning with cramping in his left leg. Eaton was out on a close play at first base after hitting a high chopper to Jays second baseman Munenori Kawasaki.

Eaton has been out for two stretches this season with leg injuries.

“It’s something I’ve been dealing with,’’ Eaton said. “I haven’t been doing that good of a job getting in there and making sure they’re ready for the game. With the combination of last night, the rain delay, late in the game, hot and I also was getting on base quite a bit — it basically crushed my legs.’’

“I don’t know,’’ Ventura said. “Just the way he was walking around, it didn’t seem right. The last time it ended up costing us two weeks.’’

Eaton’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. He had been on base in 20 consecutive games.

Abreu on Bautista’s list

Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, the captain of the American League’s Home Run Derby team who will choose the three participants, said Jose Abreu is on his short list of candidates and planned to discuss Abreu’s level of interest in participating. Abreu has said he’s not interested, though.

‘‘I’m planning to talk to him, yes,’’ Bautista said.

“Of course, I’d understand, but I want to hear it from him. I don’t want to use sources for that type of decision because I don’t want to not invite him and he’s upset or disappointed if I didn’t talk to him first.’’

Bautista is well aware of the season Abreu is having.

“It’s hard not to notice what he’s doing,’’ Bautista said.


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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