BOSTON -- Finishing a game for Eric Surkamp, as he did in the White Sox 8-3 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday, does not exactly qualify as foreign ground to the left-hander. After all, Surkamp has thrown four complete games over his 94 career Minor League starts.
But Surkamp currently stands as the White Sox lone left-handed reliever, so finishing now is about working one inning and nine pitches as he did at Fenway Park.
"Yeah, it's a little bit different," Surkamp said. "Obviously coming in for a shorter period of time, you have to have your stuff ready to go right away. It's something I've got to get better at, just be ready to throw my best stuff right away."
The 26-year-old walked Robinson Cano in the ninth inning of his appearance Saturday during a two-run Mariners rally that eventually produced a Seattle victory in 14 innings. Surkamp walked Michael Saunders as his first batter faced Sunday to load the bases in the seventh inning with two outs, but he then retired Cano on a fly ball to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Tuesday showed more of that immediate sharpness Surkamp discussed, where he gave up one hit but nothing more. Although his career has been set up as a starter, Surkamp has only one specific preference for his Major League future: to be a Major Leaguer.
"I just want to pitch in the big leagues for a long time," Surkamp said. "So whether it's starting or this, whatever I can be successful at, just go ahead and do it.
"This is a little bit different perspective on the game, sitting down in the bullpen the whole time and then coming in. It's been fun and you know there are a lot of good left-handed hitters in the AL so it will be fun."
Garcia feeling good about chance to return
BOSTON -- Avisail Garcia reported nothing but a little shoulder tightness after taking batting practice Tuesday for the first time since he suffered a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder diving for a ball in right field against the Rockies on April 9.
Garcia, who told MLB.com in May that he hoped to play again this year after being ruled out for the season by the team, is excited by the White Sox acknowledging such a possibility.
"It means a lot, because they say I may be out for the rest of the season, so I feel great," Garcia said. "Happy. My rehab is going good. Working hard every day, so let's see what happens.
"Let's see how I feel. It's something that's going to be every day how I feel. If I feel really good, maybe, I don't know, maybe August? Let's see what happens."
Manager Robin Ventura joined general manager Rick Hahn on Wednesday in stating that there's no timetable for Garcia, other than not even thinking about a return until he's 100 percent. Ventura added that Garcia's swing looked pretty normal, with Garcia taking batting practice again Wednesday, and hitting coach Todd Steverson agreed that the quirks he saw from Garcia aren't too different from guys playing every day.
Steverson also knows the best knowledge concerning Garcia won't come until he's back in game action.
"Practice and competition are two totally different realms. Those are on two ends of the teeter-totter," Steverson said. "More assessment can be made when he gets back in the competition, but in terms of work, I'm pleased with his work.
"Who wouldn't want to get something in instead of a whole year lost? You are able to get in there and compete again and get your thought process back."
There's also a benefit for Garcia to being part of the team and watching the game during this comeback.
"Him being here is a positive to the point where he's able to see how guys get themselves out, what pitchers do in certain situations," Steverson said. "I know he said he didn't want to look at very many games, because he wants to play so much, but you know what? You can learn a lot by watching games. He's starting to realize that and that's good for him."
Former catcher Pierzynski designated by Red Sox
BOSTON -- The first year with the Red Sox ended before the All-Star break for catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who was designated for assignment by the team prior to Wednesday's contest with the White Sox.
"I didn't necessarily see that coming. We know what it's like," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the Pierzynski move. "When you're a team expected to win, and it doesn't happen, things like that happen. It was shocking when we came in and found that out."
Pierzynski was part of the White Sox from 2005-12, playing a key role on the '05 World Series champions. He also stands as a fan favorite among the club's faithful but doesn't look to be a fit with the current reshaping process being employed by the team.
General manager Rick Hahn declined comment concerning Pierzynski, stating that the team doesn't talk about individuals who may or may not be White Sox players in the future. Catchers Tyler Flowers and Adrian Nieto rank last in the AL with 29 RBIs and second to last with a .591 OPS.
Third to first
• First baseman Rangel Ravelo's 25-game hitting streak ranks as the third-longest in the history of Double-A Birmingham's team. He trails only Sumpter Clarke (33 games, 1922) and Doug Brady (27 in 1994) for the team record.
• John Danks' next start Sunday will be the 200th of his career.