Robin Ventura gave Hector Santiago a public vote of confidence following his first blown save of the season and the manager made it clear last night that he’s sticking with the rookie after a second blown save.
“I think stuff happens, but we’re still going with him,” Ventura told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. “He’s going to be fine.”
Maybe, but it seemed pretty clear when Ventura named Santiago the closer and seems even more obvious now that he’s no better than the White Sox’s fourth-best reliever behind Matt Thornton, Addison Reed, and Jesse Crain.
And now Santiago has two blown saves with an 8.53 ERA in seven appearances, canceling out an excellent 10/1 K/BB ratio by serving up four homers in just 6.1 innings. Meanwhile, the trio of Reed, Thornton, and Crain have combined for a 1.13 ERA and 28/3 K/BB ratio in 24 innings with only Crain serving up a homer.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 24-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.