White Sox notes: Ventura felt bad sending Santiago to mound

White Sox notes: Ventura felt bad sending Santiago to mound
August 14, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Robin Ventura said Wednesday he wasn’t sure about allowing Hector Santiago to pitch a night earlier as he battled the effects of a root canal.

Santiago’s face was swollen and he pitched in pain throughout a five-inning start on Tuesday night, a little more than 24 hours after he had a root canal. Despite waking up early Tuesday morning with a 102.7-degree temperature and having spent nearly 20 hours in bed, Santiago limited the Detroit Tigers to two runs (one earned) in a 102-pitch effort.

“I almost felt bad letting him go out there the way he was looking and probably feeling,” Ventura said. “That was more my fault. For him to gut through it -- he’s a tough kid and he was ready to go out there.”

Santiago said he was in shooting pain and grimacing with each pitch.

Even so, he never had any doubts he’d pitch.

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The left-hander is 3-5 with a 3.26 ERA in 17 starts this season. Though Santiago has value because of his versatility, Ventura doesn’t see him returning to the bullpen in the near future. Santiago has 104 strikeouts in 99 1/3 innings as a starter.

“I was just weak,” Santiago said. “I couldn’t drive the ball to where I wanted. My legs weren’t behind me. It was just a tough one. …I got here and told (John) Danks ‘Hey, you might need to go. You are on five days rest.’ I was just messing with him. The only way I wasn’t going to go is if I wasn’t able to walk.”

Garcia in RF for now

With multiple center fielders already on the roster, Ventura said rookie Avisail Garcia is likely to stay in right field for the time being. The White Sox have said they consider Garcia a possible center fielder because he can handle it and would offer strong offense and a premium position.

But the White Sox currently have Alejandro De Aza, Blake Tekotte and Jordan Danks on the roster, all of who can play center. Ventura said it’s not a matter of easing Garcia’s load to get him comfortable.

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“It’s not something we’re shying away from,” Ventura said. “Just let know what he’s doing and go out there and play. … He played last year. The guy was in the playoffs. It’s not like we’re letting him stick his toe in the water. He’s been up here and playing so we’re just letting him play.”

Asked if he has found a comfort zone in the White Sox clubhouse, Garcia, who was promoted to the majors on Friday, seems to think so. Garcia tripled in two runs on Tuesday night and scored two more, including the game-winner.

“Here everybody’s good,” Garcia said. “Everybody is like family. I love everybody here. Every day I’m joking around with my guys and focusing on the game.”

‘Spa day’ for Konerko

There are probably no mani-pedis on tap, but Ventura is giving veteran Paul Konerko a routine day off on Wednesday.

Ventura doesn’t want Konerko, who has dealt with back issues all season, to reinjure himself after a short turnaround. Konerko played all 11 innings at first base in Tuesday’s victory.

“Guys at that age get a little tighter a day game after a night game,” Ventura said. “Let him have a little spa day.”

Jeff Keppinger started at first base in Konerko’s stead.