Santiago has no qualms about starting in relief

Santiago has no qualms about starting in relief

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Moving Dylan Axelrod into the White Sox starting rotation as John Danks' temporary replacement means Hector Santiago begins the 2013 season in the bullpen.

Danks will start the season on the disabled list as he tries to regain velocity and command after Aug. 6 season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery, and Santiago also was in consideration for the vacant starting role, but he understands the decision and has no problem with the choice.

"I mean, the time is going to come," said Santiago, who fanned five over three scoreless innings in Friday night's 4-4 tie with the A's. "It's a matter of going out there and getting your time and getting more innings and building yourself up. I'm sure sooner or later it will happen.

"[Axelrod] has done it for so long, and I've gotten half a season at it two years ago, and last year four starts at it. All around, he's been equipped for a starting role and I'm getting back and building up to it. I understand completely."

Despite possessing better raw stuff than Axelrod, two scouts who have watched the left-hander this spring agree that Santiago is better suited at this point for the bullpen. As Santiago pointed out, he made four starts for the White Sox in 2012 and made 23 Minor League starts between Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham in 2011. Axelrod has 10 Major League starts and 60 over his Minor League career.

"I'm a better out-of-the-'pen guy than he is," Santiago said. "Going out there, I've done it more times than he has. The situation fits us both best."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.