Converted shortstop Sergio Santos is White Sox’s new closer

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Ozzie Guillen has been playing musical relievers after Opening Day closer Matt Thornton blew all four of his early save chances (with the help of some shoddy defense).

Sergio Santos was the latest White Sox reliever to be handed a late-inning lead last night and the converted shortstop closed out a 2-0 win with 1.1 scoreless innings against the Yankees.

He looked good enough converting the four-out save (or the rest of the bullpen has looked bad enough) that afterward Guillen indicated Santos is now at the top of the closer heap.

Thornton hasn’t pitched nearly as poorly as his four blown saves would suggest and he has a long enough track record of excellence as a setup man that sticking with him as closer wouldn’t be a bad move, but giving Santos a shot with ninth-inning duties isn’t a bad idea either.

Santos was the Diamondbacks’ first-round pick in 2002 as a shortstop, but after hitting just .248 with a .699 OPS in more than 3,000 trips to the plate in the minors he moved to the mound in 2009. He cracked the White Sox’s bullpen coming out of spring training last year and has a 2.44 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 63 innings since, averaging 95.7 miles per hour with his fastball and serving up a grand total of just two homers.

Chicago’s bullpen has been ugly early on, but Thornton is a good bet to get back on track and join Santos, Chris Sale, and Jesse Crain in a potentially dominant late-inning quartet.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.