Santos a hero back home; speed kills Angels

Santos a hero back home; speed kills Angels

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010
1:33 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Sergio Santos enjoyed the best of both worlds on Friday night, pitching in front of an estimated 160 friends and family at Angel Stadiumand he didnt have to spring for many of the ducats, if any.

People had bought their tickets back at the beginning of April, so they all bought them in a bunch and wanted to go the cheapest way, Santos said of his upper-deck cheering section. They wanted to sit together, so they all just bought in that one section.

Even better for the rookie, playing his first game in Southern California, was that he made an appearance in the game, which he began by surrendering leadoff hits to Peter Bourjos and Howie Kendrick in the eighth.

That was probably the most nervous Ive been the entire year, even my first overall inning in April, Santos said. You want to do so well and want everybody to have that good moment. But after the first pitch it kind of went away and I went back to normal.

Normal was punching out Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter with swinging strikes, before giving way to eventual winning pitcher Matt Thornton. Although Santos hit 98 on the gun with his fastball in the inning, he retired Abreu with a changeup and Hunter with a biting curve.

Santos smile was a mile wide postgame, after getting his first appearance in front of his La Puente, Calif. compadres out of the way.

To be able to get into the first game was good, everybody can relax and know that theyve seen me, said Santos, who is now 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA and more than two strikeouts per walk in 2010. Hopefully, I can get in one more game.

Speed Kills

The White Sox again were aggressive on the basepaths, stealing two bags in the game to raise their season total to 147, second in the American League. But the steals themselves arent as important as the disruption the threat of running creates.

The winning run in the ninth was keyed by speed. Juan Pierre, who leads the team in snagged bags with 60 (the second most in a single season in White Sox history), walked with one out. The left fielder had second base stolen on a hit-and-run attempt that Omar Vizquel fouled off, then advanced to second on Vizquels safety flare to right field. With Pierre dancing on second and Vizquel also a speed threat on first, Angels closer Fernando Rodney delivered two juicy fastballs on the plate for Alex Rios, the second of which Rios sent back to centerfield, knocking in Pierre with the eventual game-winning run.

I would think so, Pierre said, laughing over the notion of his speed disrupting the hurler. Youve got to ask Rodney or the Angels, but from the looks of it Rios got a good pitch to hit. I got on and was trying to steal, and Omar got a big hit. With speed on the bases, Rodney definitely cant take his time going to the plate; he has to split his attention, and we came up with a big run.

Whats more, Rios was aggressive despite just giving the White Sox the lead, getting a preposterous jump on Rodney to steal second and move to third on a throwing error by catcher Hank Conger.

Thats the way we play, Pierre said. We have speed and power. Definitely with Rios, hes a 20-20 guy 34 steals, 21 homers, so for him to take the bag right there puts pressure on the Angels and hopefully sets the tone where they might be thinking of steal attempts tomorrow and Sunday.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Carlos Rodon to start Wednesday while White Sox reliever undergoes Tommy John

Carlos Rodon to start Wednesday while White Sox reliever undergoes Tommy John

Rick Hahn began his briefing to the media on Monday with two announcements: First, left-hander Carlos Rodon will make his season debut Wednesday against the New York Yankees. 

And right-hander Zach Putnam underwent Tommy John surgery last week and will miss the remainder of the season.

The 29-year-old Putnam was placed on the 10-day disabled list April 25 with right elbow inflammation, but his elbow issues began before that. Last June, Putnam landed on the disabled list with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow and later had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in August (Putnam was first diagnosed with a bone spur in his elbow in 2013 while with the Chicago Cubs). 

“When they removed the chips, the ligament was not in great shape but Zach and his doctors thought it was worthwhile for him to try to fight back and pitch through it, which obviously he was able to do for a short period of time but ultimately the ligament gave out,” Hahn said. “Zach deserves a world of credit for doing everything he could the last two years to fight his way back to contribute in the bullpen. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for him.”

Putnam’s Tommy John surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews and carries a 12-18 month recovery process, which on the more extreme end could rule him out for the entire 2018 season, too. 

This latest setback is another tough break for Putnam, who was outstanding in limited action over the last two seasons, posting a 2.00 ERA with 39 strikeouts, 12 walks and two home runs allowed in 36 innings out of the White Sox bullpen. 

As for Rodon, Hahn wouldn’t tip his hand as to what move will be made to return the 2014 first-round pick to the major league roster. Rodon threw at least 90 pitches in his last three minor league rehab starts and worked in extended spring training before that, so he won’t face any restrictions when he takes the mound against the Yankees on Wednesday. 

“He’s starting his season now,” Hahn said. “He had to alter his training regimen and get himself back on track and we have him out there without restrictions with the same expectations we had for him at the end of last season. He continues to be an important part of our future.” 

Avisail Garcia moves up in final days of All-Star Game voting

Avisail Garcia moves up in final days of All-Star Game voting

Major League Baseball released the latest American League All-Star voting update Monday and Avisail Garcia has jumped back into fifth place among outfielders.

The White Sox right fielder jumped past Boston's Mookie Betts since the last returns were announced on June 13.

Since then Garcia has slashed .319/.447/.819 with a homer, 5 RBIs and three doubles in 12 games.

Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and George Springer remain the top vote-getters in the outfield, though Trout won't play in the Midsumemr Classic because of a thumb injury.

On the year Garcia is batting .331 with a .904 OPS, 11 homers and 51 RBIs; the RBIs are the same number Garcia had all of last year.

Garcia is the only White sox player among the top AL vote-getters at any position.

Voting ends June 30.