Friday, April 22, 2011
Posted: 7:37 p.m. Updated: 7:55 p.m.
By Chuck Garfien
White Sox fans who have been asking, even pleading for Sergio Santos to be the White Sox closer, you might soon get your wish.
Santos, who has yet to give up a run in the regular season (9 23 innings) and spring training (same number: 9 23 innings) received praise from manager Ozzie Guillen before Fridays game, hinting that he might start handing the ball to the young pitcher in save situations.
"Now I have confidence in Santos," Guillen said. "I dont mind closing a game with Santos if three righties are at the plate. I dont mind at all. You talk about (Miguel) Cabrera, Magglio (Ordonez) and (Austin) Jackson, you might see Santos in the ninth. Thats the way were going to go to right now when we start to set everything ready to go.
It takes a certain personality to be a successful closer. Its easily one of the most isolating, pressure-packed jobs in sports, ranking right up there with hockey goalie and field goal kicker.
You need to have the right kind of DNA to handle the ninth inning stress, not to mention the ups and downs. Judging by his career so far, a player who was able to transform from a struggling shortstop to a lights-out pitcher in a matter of weeks, he might have the right genetic code to succeed.
"This kid (Santos) is hungry," Guillen said. "This kid wants to be good. I know everybody else wants to be good, but this kid is hungry. He knows he has good stuff. He knows he is a great candidate to be a closer. Thats all it takes - the confidence, cockiness, arrogance - however you want to call it. This kid has the good potential to be that."
Santos showed the traits Guillen spoke about on the first day of spring training. When the team reported to Glendale, the competition for White Sox closer was thought to be between Matt Thornton and Chris Sale. But not to Sergio, he went out of his way to say that he wanted it as well.
If left-handed batters are set to come up in a close game in the ninth, Guillen said he will decide between Thornton and Sale. But if righties are due up, Santos will be the guy.
But first the White Sox need to be in position to actually use their closer. Yes, its been a while.
Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.