The Dodgers announced Tuesday that they’ve designated veteran outfielder Steven Souza Jr. for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster for right-handed reliever Jake Reed, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Souza, 32, joined the Dodgers on a minor league deal back in mid-April after he was unable to win a roster spot with the Astros in Spring Training. The Dodgers called the former Rays slugger to the big leagues last month after he posted a mammoth .279/.444/.603 batting line with six homers, four doubles and 16 walks in 90 Triple-A plate appearances. Souza has functioned as a seldom-used bench piece and pinch-hitter, however, tallying just 28 plate appearances in 13 games and posting a .160/.250/.360 batting line in that time.
The past few years have been a roller coaster for Souza, who missed much of the 2018 season with pectoral injuries before suffering a catastrophic knee injury during Spring Training with the D-backs in 2019. Souza suffered tears of the ACL, LCL, PCL and posterolateral capsule in his left knee during a play at the plate and missed the entire season recovering from the subsequent surgery. That he’s been able to return to the Majors at all after such a devastating injury is a testament to his determination, but he’s yet to get a legitimate look with either the Cubs (for whom he played last summer) or the Dodgers, who now have a week to trade Souza, place him on outright waivers, or release him.
For the 28-year-old Reed, this will mark his first call to the Majors after eight years in pro ball. The former Oregon Duck was a fifth-round pick by the Twins back in 2014 and long rated as one of the organization’s more promising bullpen prospects. He posted video-game numbers in the lower minors before beginning to stumble at the Double-A level, although after spending a few seasons both there and in Triple-A, Reed’s numbers began to come around. He never parlayed that into a big league appearance with the Twins, however, and he’s now split the 2021 season between both L.A. clubs after first signing with the Angels as a minor league free agent.
Since being released from that deal and signing with the Dodgers, Reed has pitched 10 1/3 innings in OKC, holding opponents to three runs on 12 hits and just one walk with 11 punchouts. In parts of five Triple-A seasons, he’s pitched to a 3.89 ERA with a solid 26.1 percent strikeout rate, a slightly elevated 9.8 percent walk rate and a 41.4 percent ground-ball rate in 185 innings of relief.