Hector Santiago was manager Robin Ventura’s surprise choice as the White Sox’s closer coming out of spring training, but his time with ninth-inning duties was short-lived and now the 24-year-old rookie is headed back to the minors.
Chicago optioned Santiago to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Francisco Liriano, who was acquired from Minnesota on Saturday night and will make his White Sox debut tomorrow against the Twins.
Based on his performance Santiago certainly didn’t deserve the demotion, but having a minor-league option remaining surely played a part. He struggled as closer, but since moving into a setup role he’s thrown 33 innings with a 2.73 ERA and 33 strikeouts. His control has been iffy, but Santiago has certainly pitched well enough to stick in the majors.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.