White Sox sticking with rookie Hector Santiago as closer

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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.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”