He’s been a closer, a middle reliever, a long reliever, a situational reliever and a setup man in the majors and even started three games in the minors.
The season has been at times trying for Santiago as he had to deal with being replaced as closer, has been unsure at times exactly his role and was sent down to Triple-A. But now back in Chicago, he’s ready to do whatever is needed of him to help the White Sox reach the postseason.
“Getting back up here, I can pretty much do everything,” said Santiago, who has a 3.95 ERA in 43 1/3 innings and 34 appearances this season. “I can start, I can throw 100 pitches, I can throw 20 pitches, come in and get a lefty out. It gives me a lot more options out of the bullpen to be able to do different things.
“It’s kind of good. I don’t know when I’m going to throw. I could go throw for one inning today or you could be the long guy after someone has a tough day. I’m definitely ready and feel confident in my role.”
Santiago was sent down to Triple-A on July 30 to extend himself and made three starts in Charlotte. He didn’t allow a run in 14 2/3 innings and was called back up on Aug. 17.
Since returning, he’s made two relief appearances. He pitched a scoreless inning on Aug. 17 and allowed three runs in three innings on Monday.
Through all of his varying experiences this season, Santiago feels he has learned some valuable lessons.
“You just got to go out there every day and do something,” Santiago said. “I feel like sometimes when I was down and had bad outings I was kind of thinking negative. The next day I would go out and have two scoreless, sometimes three scoreless. You just got to be able to forget. That’s pretty much what they told me when I was closing. You have to have a short-term memory.”
As for the future, Santiago isn’t sure what his role will be. He said there’s a chance he could find a spot in the starting rotation next season.
“We’ve talked about it,” Santiago said. “We talked about it (Tuesday) when we were in the video room. (Pitching coach Don Cooper) was like, ‘We might have four or five left-handed starters next year. Who knows, anything can happen.”