GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Hector Santiago came into camp last year as somewhat of an unknown, a talented southpaw with a screwball out pitch, who made a brief but successful two-game appearance with the White Sox in 2011.
He left Arizona as the team's closer and ended the season as part of the starting rotation, with stops in middle relief and Triple-A Charlotte in between. So when Santiago is asked what role he prefers to handle as part of the 2013 pitching staff, he puts starter atop his list, but is prepared for anything.
"I already know where I'm at. I'm that sixth spot kind of guy, fill-in," Santiago said. "It will be fun and awesome to start, but you want to be up here pitching. Whether it's in the bullpen or later on in the season get a few spot starts with Johnny [Danks] where we don't know when he'll come back for his first start or if there are times where he needs extra days.
"I've prepared to be a starter," added Santiago, who made five starts and threw 29 innings while pitching for Puerto Rico in winter baseball. "I'm ready to go to the 'pen if they need me for one inning, but I'm stretched out if they need me for long relief."
Santiago likes the idea of being able to throw 70-100 pitches and take control of a game, more so than the way a game can change on just one pitch as a closer. He still remembers the three runs he allowed to Oakland in the bottom of the 14th on April 25, turning a 4-2 lead into a 5-4 loss and marking Addison Reed's move to closer.
"You have a one-run lead, the game is on the line with you pitching on the mound," said Santiago of the closer mentality. "You are pretty much in control. You are doing everything. If you give up the runs, it's your loss. If you give up the runs to tie the game, other guys behind you have to pitch.
"It's different. You come in the sixth inning and you give up runs or the game-tying run, and you still have three innings to make up for that."