Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

White Sox rookie "pumped and ready" to face Tribe

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The White Sox are down to an eight-game season. In Game 1, rookie left-hander Hector Santiago will take the ball.

The Sox are tied for first place with the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. Santiago will face the Cleveland Indians in the rubber game of a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. The Tigers, who won Tuesday night after the Sox lost, will host the Kansas City Royals.

Manager Robin Ventura made one change in his lineup for tonight's game, inserting Dewayne Wise in place of Dayan Viciedo. Wise will play center, with Alejandro De Aza playing left.

Santiago, the Opening Day closer who is shuttling between starting and relief, is making his third career start. He is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA, and is 1-0 with a 2.48 ERA over his last 15 appearances. That span includes two starts.

"I feel like 30 pitches, 90 pitches I feel like I'm ready to go every day,'' Santiago said.

Santiago, like fellow rookie pitchers Addison Reed, Nate Jones and Dylan Axelrod who've made important contributions, seems unfazed by pitching during September for the first time.

"Us [rookies], we're out there, we're still in shock that this is working out in our favor,'' Santiago said. "We're getting out there and throwing in big situations. This is huge. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You never know when it's going to happen or when you're going to be in the hunt for a playoff spot again.

"I'm excited, I'm pumped. Just them considering me as a spot starter in this situation that we're in ... I'm ready to go. This is a situation you live for, to be in a situation when your team needs a win.''

"He's been effective. He's a tough kid,'' Ventura said. "We've had a lot of young guys throughout the year step up and do the job. It's no different now. We expect him to go out and compete and give us a chance to win the game.''

Right-hander Justin Masterson starts for Cleveland.

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This page contains a single entry by Daryl Van Schouwen published on September 26, 2012 2:43 PM.

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