One man goes down, the next one steps up.
With so many injuries over the first quarter of the season, it’s been the White Sox’ unfortunate mantra.
When ace starting pitcher Chris Sale (shoulder) was scratched from Wednesday night’s scheduled outing against the Red Sox, Hector Santiago was pressed into duty.
Santiago got the news Tuesday after throwing a full-blown bullpen session.
“It kind of (stinks) that I found out after I threw my bullpen,” Santiago said. “For the most part, I think I’ll be fine.”
For the most part, he was.
Working on just three days rest, Santiago was wobbly in the first inning against Boston, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits, 1 walk and a hit batter. He also threw 29 pitches.
It wasn’t looking good early, but Santiago found a groove in the second inning and he rode it through the sixth.
“You always have to be ready for anything,” Santiago said. “I don’t put any limits on myself. I put the pressure on myself to make it a regular day. The first few innings were tough, especially the first inning, but I just wanted to save the bullpen and keep us in the game.”
Santiago (1-3) made it through 6 innings, and he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits while walking four and striking out nine in a 107-pitch night.
“He was moved up, and the first inning almost got away from him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “But he battled and gave us a chance. That’s the biggest thing.”
Unfortunately for the White Sox, again, struggling relievers Brian Omogrosso, Nate Jones and Donnie Veal weren’t able to back up Santiago’s gutty effort, and the offense wasn’t able to do much with Boston starter Clay Buchholz (7-0), who has been the American League’s best pitcher in the early going.
Despite Santiago’s heroics, the Red Sox came out on top 6-2 at U.S. Cellular Field while avoiding a three-game sweep.
Veal was optioned back to Class AAA Charlotte after the game, and that opened a spot for John Danks’ return from the disabled list.
After losing to the Red Sox, Ventura officially announced Danks is going to start against the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
“I’m excited,” Danks said. “It’s been a long time, a long recovery. To get back out there and feel like a part of the team, feel like a big-leaguer again, now I’ve got to go out there and try to win us a ballgame.”
Danks has been out for over a year with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
“It’s been a long road for him to get back,” Ventura said. “He’s ready to go. He says he’s ready to go and I trust him.”
While it’s not official yet, Danks’ return to the rotation is going to send Santiago back to the bullpen.
Nothing seems to bother the 25-year-old lefty, and that includes a role change.
“Swiss Army knife, be ready for anything,” Santiago said. “It’s going to be the same for me whether they call me to start or call me to come out of the bullpen. I’ll just try to be ready.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.