Santiago hopes his future is in White Sox rotation

Santiago hopes his future is in White Sox rotation

CHICAGO -- Hector Santiago gets the call as Monday's starter in the series opener against the Indians, making his fourth start of the season and second straight against Cleveland.

The rookie southpaw also has pitched 38 games in relief, but he hopes that working as a starter becomes his future vocation with the White Sox.

"That's what we are building up for right now, trying to get my feet wet as a starter," said Santiago, who has allowed four runs over 12 1/3 innings as a starter, while striking out 16. "I'm getting experience in the big leagues as a starter and trying to build myself up and learn how to pitch and get early outs. That's what we are building up for now to possibly be in next year."

Santiago knows about the returning starters for the 2013 starting rotation, with left-handers Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and what the White Sox hope will be a healthy John Danks already in place. Four starting southpaws may be unlikely, although Santiago has talked briefly to pitching coach Don Cooper about such a possibility.

If the White Sox put Santiago back in the bullpen, he understands it's another part of the growth process to get him to the rotation.

"I know what to expect. I know who is coming back. I know what they are looking for out of guys," Santiago said. "This year, I was all over the place. Next year, maybe settle me into a role in the bullpen, long relief or something. Then the year after that, just keep building, making my way into the rotation."