CHICAGO -- Hector Santiago was told on Tuesday to be ready to make his third big league start on Friday in the series opener against the Twins at Target Field, taking the mound before Jose Quintana works on Saturday and Jake Peavy pitches on Sunday.
Those plans were written in pencil, not permanent marker. On Wednesday night, Santiago relieved Gavin Floyd in the fifth inning and threw 51 pitches over two innings in the 8-6 loss to Detroit, an outing that took him out of starting consideration.
"Today they told me to be ready with Gavin just coming off the disabled list," said Santiago prior to his relief work. "It's tough to know what he's going to do. I'm a reliever right now, and Friday if I'm starting, I'm starting."
With Santiago's relief effort, as well as Dylan Axelrod's, manager Robin Ventura indicated that Francisco Liriano most likely would be going against the team that traded him prior to this year's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Otherwise, Liriano will be available in relief as he tries to battle out of a funk that produced 12 earned runs and 15 walks over his last 14 innings.
Liriano faced three hitters in Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Tigers and didn't retire any of them, allowing two earned runs. Entering in a one-run game was not exactly a comfortable situation for Liriano, who has made 27 career relief appearances but has been more accustomed to doing so in more wide-open contests.
"It's been my first time coming in that situation," Liriano said. "I've been in that situation before, but just [when] we're losing by a lot or winning by a lot.
"I'll come in and throw one or two innings. Yesterday was different for me. So I came in yesterday, [tried] to get ahead in the count, [tried] to throw strikes and get some people out, but it didn't go the way I wanted. I don't know. I'll try to find a way to get better."