CHICAGO -- It has been a whirlwind few months for Hector Santiago, who went from the roster bubble at the start of Spring Training to the team's Opening Day closer and back to middle relief at the start of May.
But the left-handed reliever seems to have found a comfort zone via six scoreless outings over his last seven appearances, reducing his ERA from 7.36 to 4.50. That newfound zone was brought about by a great deal of pregame work and a renewed focus on location.
"I've been throwing a lot in the bullpen before games and early during batting practice, mostly just trying to get both sides of the plate down," Santiago said. "I've been a power guy to the inside part of the plate to right-handers and away to lefties. I used to be the opposite way. I used to be away to righties and in to lefties.
"That wasn't my strong suit. I worked so hard at going the opposite way, not really forgetting it but got away from it, not doing that. That's a big thing to work on, dominate both sides of the plate with my fastball and all the pitches."
Santiago admits a pair of blown saves in six opportunities were frustrating, with the southpaw plagued early by four home runs. But he got through it and forgot about the tough times.
"I just went out there with the same attitude and grinded it out and tried to pick up my slack," said Santiago, who still would like to get ahead of more hitters. "I'm battling and I'm getting the job done right now."