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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Santiago not concerned about rotation spot

By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNChicago.com

NEW YORK -- As he made his way to the team bus after Tuesday's 1-0 loss in 10 innings, Hector Santiago had a mob of about 60-70 friends and family members waiting for the Newark, N.J., native.

"(I'm) doing circles over there, trying to figure out who's asking you what and trying to talk to everybody and trying to please everybody and have a good conversation," Santiago said. "It was fun having them all here and hearing them after every inning and getting after it and supporting."

Santiago grew up a huge Mets fans approximately 20 miles from Flushing, and he said Tuesday it was surreal to pitch here. He appreciated all those who came out to support him, even if some were telling him that they were pulling for him to pitch well in a Mets win.

Tuesday's seven innings of shutout ball marked Santiago's second start, and he's pitched well in both, giving up just one run in 12 1/3 innings. The White Sox will have to make a decision regarding the rotation soon, as injured lefty John Danks is close to returning, and Santiago could be bounced. He's not worrying about it.

"I don't think I'm trying to beat anybody out. I'm trying to go out there and do my job, trying to pitch well," Santiago said. "Obviously you want to earn a spot, but I don't think I've been thinking about that at all. I've been going out there and giving us a chance to win and pitching well and throw the ball how they want me to throw it. Give us a chance to win is the main thing."

Sale wishes Happ best: After watching the video of Toronto Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ being hit in the head with a line drive Tuesday, Chris Sale immediately shut it off.

"It's scary being out there and you're the closest guy to the hitter. Balls are coming at you pretty quick," Sale said. "I've been hit a couple of times and been very fortunate that it hasn't been upper body or face, head area. Even then, you kind of, 'oh man', take a step back.

"Obviously our thoughts are with him and his family and his teammates."

Chicago pitching coach Don Cooper called Happ's injury unfortunate. He said pitchers being hit with line drives stems from tighter strike zones.

"This is nothing against the umpires or anything like that, I just think the zone can be tight at times," Cooper said. "And if you're not getting some strikes inside then you got to throw them away. When you throw them away, you could be a piņata."

Konerko back: After a day off, Paul Konerko is back in the lineup Wednesday. A lifetime .282 hitter, Konerko is hitting just .225 this year. White Sox manager Robin Ventura believes Konerko could be rounding the corner after some good at-bats this past weekend.

"I don't think he's in a groove or anything like that, but he's fighting through at-bats. It's pretty much what you can do at this point," Ventura said. "He's fighting and working on it and it's not where he wants to be but you can see glimpses of coming out."