DETROIT -- Hector Santiago began the year as the White Sox surprise closer, but over the last month, his role has been somewhat undefined. He has two three-inning stints, one one-inning effort and one game against the Royals in which he faced just one hitter.
Santiago likes the less-pressurized and spontaneous nature of not knowing exactly what he will be doing from game to game. But the 24-year-old southpaw ultimately would like to start, a target the White Sox seem inclined to help him reach.
"We've talked about it a couple of times," Santiago said. "They said I've been building my pitches up, and maybe I'll have a spot start later on in the year. We talked about that early, too, even when I was closing. [White Sox bullpen coach] Juan [Nieves] asks me all the time, 'What do you see yourself as later on' and It's always as a starter."
With five pitches, including his screwball, Santiago certainly has the repertoire to work as part of the rotation. All 23 of his Minor League appearances in 2011 were as a starter.
The point now is to refine those pitches, especially that unique screwball.
"The more you throw it, the better it gets," said Santiago. "I threw one the other night and it was all right. The second one got better and the third one was even better. It was a matter of getting into it and throwing it to a hitter.
"Obviously with [Jose] Quintana and [Dylan] Axelrod throwing the way they are throwing, hopefully I can have a chance somewhere in the rotation somewhere in the future. Two or three years down the line, whatever."