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Friday, April 27, 2012
Santiago worried he's tipping off his pitches

By Bruce Levine

Hector Santiago
Hector Santiago is worried that he may be tipping off his pitches.
Chicago White Sox closer Hector Santiago has been getting hit on a regular basis, and some baseball people believe he is tipping his pitches.

"I went into the video room with some of the coaches and it is clear I must be doing something to be giving my stuff away," Santiago told ESPNChicago.com on Friday. "
We will come up with a plan.

"We have some of the (teammates ) that told me I may be tipping something, hopefully we can solve it and get it out of the way soon."

Santiago blew a save in the 14th inning in Oakland on Wednesday as a 4-2 lead turned into a 5-4 loss.


The A’s hit all Santiago's pitches, which led the staff to believe that Oakland knew the type of pitch that was coming. In the past, Santiago was getting hurt only on his fastball location. But on Wednesday, Yoennis Cespedes hit a change-up out of the park to tie the game at 4-4 .

Scouts and coaches are always looking for little changes that pitchers show in how they hold the ball or plant a foot on different pitches.

"It can be as subtle as how a guy turns his hand or wrist when he grips the baseball before he makes his pitch," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "Guys have been tipping pitches forever in this game. We can fix that, but we need to make the right pitches and locate them well to be successful. That’s what we will work on with Hector, who we have great faith in."

Some of the greatest pitchers in baseball tipped their pitches and still got people out. Legend has it that Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax tipped his pitches throughout his career, which in his case didn'’t help the hitters very much.

"When Johann Santana was with the Twins we had his pitches, and all he did was shove the bats down our throat almost every time he faced us," Sox reliever Matt Thornton said. "Tipping can be resolved, but you still have to make good pitches."

Santiago is one of four pitchers in the Sox bullpen who came into the 2012 season with little or no major league experience. The left-hander has all four of the team's saves while blowing two other save chances. He has a strikeout ratio of 14.21 per 9 innings pitched, which is second highest in baseball. On the down side he has surrendered four home runs in six appearances.