The Angels have only seen two-thirds of an inning out of White Sox starter Hector Santiago, and that came in 2012. But Santiago's screwball was enough to leave a lasting impression on manager Mike Scioscia.
"It's like a changeup, a fade changeup." Scioscia said.
Santiago will start the third game of a four-game series against at Angel Stadium on Saturday. He was added to the White Sox rotation on May 2, after Gavin Floyd tore the flexor muscle near his right elbow.
Until his last start, Santiago appeared to be comfortable in his new role. In his first two starts, he was 1-0 with 14 strikeouts and a 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings. On Monday, the Twins tagged him for six runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings in his first poor start since joining the rotation.
If Santiago continues to impress, it could be tough to move him back into the bullpen when White Sox veteran starter John Danks returns from the 15-day disabled list. Danks is already making rehab starts, including one on Saturday, and he could be back with the White Sox, who have won four straight games, as soon as next weekend.
Santiago's next couple of starts could determine whether he keeps his new role, but he said he likes starting.
"As a starter, you can mix all five pitches and I think for the most part, I threw three pitches out of the 'pen most of the time," Santiago said. "Starting, all five and probably every inning I've gone out there, I've been able to use all my pitches."
The Angels will send right-hander Joe Blanton to the mound to face Santiago. He struggled against the Royals in his last outing, working 4 2/3 innings before he was removed after allowing seven earned runs. The poor outing broke a streak of three straight quality starts, but Blanton is still looking for his first victory in an Angels uniform. He's is 3-1 with a 2.59 ERA against the White Sox over his career.
"Joe looks like he is making better starts," Scioscia said after Blanton's outing on Monday. "Obviously, tonight wasn't according to the game plan, but we will turn the page on it for Joe and hopefully he gets where he needs to be for his next start."
Saturday will be the sixth time in the past nine games that the Angels and White Sox have faced each other. Chicago currently leads the series, 3-2, after the White Sox defeated the Angels on Friday, 3-0.
White Sox: Flowers slowing opposition
White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers has thrown out four of the last eight runners attempting to steal against him. White Sox manager Robin Ventura credited Flowers' work with the pitchers as the reason for the improvement.
"Before, there were guys taking off and getting big jumps and I don't care how good of an arm you have, you weren't going to throw them out," Ventura said. "The chances we've had, I feel pretty good, the ones you think you got a shot at, we've been pretty good at that."
Angels: Madson getting close to returning
Angels closer Ryan Madson is getting close to returning from the 15-day disabled list after making his first rehab appearance on Monday since undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. Madson picked up the save for the Inland Empire 66ers, and the Angels released a statement that said he'll be headed to Triple-A Salt Lake "in the coming days."
Madson hasn't pitched in a Major League game since Oct. 7, 2011.
Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.