Santos fights for a spot in White Sox's pen

MESA, Ariz. -- Right-handed pitcher Sergio Santos has a real opportunity to make the White Sox’s 12-man staff. The converted catcher struck out the side in his one inning of work against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday.

Santos isn’t taking anything for granted.

“I’m taking it inning by inning,” he said. “I’m trying to learn at a faster pace. I’m behind some of the guys as far as pitching experience, so I’m taking in as much as I can and filtering it. Whatever works I hope will help me down the line.”

Santos will be in a battle with right-handed pitcher Tony Pena and veteran Scott Linebrink for the sixth- and seventh-inning role in the pen. If he does continue to impress, the White Sox front office may back off on plans to trade for a veteran bullpen arm. With seven spots available in the bullpen, it’s likely there’s only room for two pitchers to make the team. After closer Bobby Jenks and setup men J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton, Pena and Linebrink appear to be on the team. That leaves left-hander Randy Williams, Santos and Daniel Hudson as some of the pitchers battling for those two spots.

In the event that Jake Peavy’s Sunday start is rained out, the veteran will throw his own simulated game in one of the team’s batting cages. “I’ll just throw a certain amount of pitches and then rest in between innings,” Peavy said. I’ll just throw like I do during a game.”

The Phoenix area is expecting one inch of rain Saturday night heading into Sunday.

Outfielder Alex Rios was the designated hitter on Friday in Ozzie Guillen’s lineup. The 29 year-old centerfielder told me that his sore right shoulder isn’t a major concern. Rios said that he’s had this problem early in the spring in previous seasons and that the arm has come back quickly. Rios hopes to play in the outfield sometime next week.