Santiago could become a starter
PHOENIX — Last year, Hector Santiago wasn't even sure if he was going to make the White Sox' 25-man roster.
When the Sox broke camp and headed to Houston for a pair of exhibition games against the Astros, Santiago learned he was the Sox' new closer.
He didn't hold the job for long, and Santiago was eventually switched to long relief before moving to the starting rotation in September.
This year, with a little over a week remaining before Opening Day, Santiago is in a similar situation.
He was initially pegged for bullpen duty, but now he's one of two candidates — along with Dylan Axelrod — in the running to replace starting pitcher John Danks (shoulder), who is headed for the disabled list.
"It's kind of funny, because it's a lot like last year," Santiago said. "I haven't heard anything yet, but I'm trying to get stretched out just in case."
Santiago was impressive as a starter last September, going 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 4 outings.
"That's still my goal, to be a starter," Santiago said. "I don't know if it's going to happen this year, or if it's going to happen here or somewhere else, but I consider myself a starter."
John Danks won't be on the Sox' 25-man roster coming out of camp as he continues his comeback from shoulder surgery.
Danks is going to continue pitching, and he's scheduled to appear in a minor-league game Sunday.
Jesse Crain, who hasn't pitched in a Cactus League game since Feb 25 because of a strained right adductor, is scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game Saturday.
Crain is thought to be much closer to rejoining the White Sox than Danks.
"If Jesse is healthy, we know what he does," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "We want him to feel better, and we want to feel better by seeing him go out there a couple times and throw the ball like he can."
Brian Omogrosso is likely to claim a bullpen job until Jesse Crain is ready to go. Ramon Troncoso is another option.
Omogrosso hasn't allowed an earned run in 10 Cactus League innings, but the right-hander has issued 6 walks. Three came in his first spring outing.
"Walks always concern me," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "We don't want them, but early in spring he walked a couple guys. And he hasn't let guys walk down there without swinging the bat."
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