SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Hector Santiago's second straight strong appearance on Thursday seemed to solidify his chances of winning one of the three spots open in the bullpen. Santiago was the starter against the Texas Rangers regulars and struck out Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Mike Olt in his two scoreless innings.
Santiago threw about a 10-12 screwballs, which is his bread and butter pitch.
"From seeing some of the swings and some of the faces on these guys after they saw it, it was something they haven't seen or was odd to them,'' Santiago said.
The Sox open the season in Texas, so starter Gavin Floyd and relievers Addison Reed and Will Ohman faced the Rangers' B team to avoid giving Texas regulars a closeup look at them. Santiago and a list of prospects pitched in the A game, which the Sox were leading 6-2 through eight innings. Center field prospect Brandon Short left the game after crashing into the center-field wall. He appeared to injure a shoulder.
Santiago started but approached it like a relief appearance.
"Oh, yeah, from first pitch, I don't try to hold anything back,'' he said. "You never know how long you are going to be out there. Go right after and give it all you got. Who knows how long you are going to be out there?''
Santiago was impressive when the Sox called him up last season. He pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.