New closer Santiago has what it takes

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Chicago White Sox have a new closer, and while Hector Santiago may not be a household name, he is a pitcher Sox fans should do their homework on.

Drafted by the Sox in the 30th round of the 2006 draft, Santiago had an exciting debut in the team’s first win of the season on Saturday night.

“You saw Santiago get after it off some of the best big-league hitters in the game, throwing some nasty stuff,” Jake Peavy, who started Saturday’s game, said.

Santiago, a 24-year-old left-hander, showed real class by offering the ball from the final out to Robin Ventura, commemorating his first victory as a manager. Ventura handed the ball back.

“That just tells you the type of people both guys are,” Peavy said. “He is a product of the organization and the group of coaches he has been around.”

Santiago features a 95 mph fastball to go with a slider and a screwball that tails away from right-handed hitters.

Ventura will stay with him for now at the end of games, although Addison Reed will be looked at as another back-of-the-bullpen pitcher by the Sox coaches.

“[Santiago] not only is a good young pitcher, he’s a great athlete,” Sox captain Paul Konerko said. “But you need to have some stuff, and he’s got it.”