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Santiago concerned with contributing, not future

ANAHEIM -- With John Danks potentially one Saturday night Minor League rehab appearance away from returning to the White Sox, a couple of options await Hector Santiago following Saturday afternoon's big league start against the Angels.

Santiago could remain in the starting rotation, giving the White Sox four left-handers to go with Jake Peavy. He also could move back to the bullpen, with the fifth spot going to Dylan Axelrod, who has a 4.27 ERA and four quality starts in eight trips to the mound.

Let's throw a third, more remote possibility out there, which could materialize down the line, in that the talented 25-year-old with five pitches could become an awfully enticing trade chip offered up by his current team. Santiago understands that nothing is certain, aside from making Saturday's start against Mike Trout and Company.

"I kind of try not to think about it, but you always have something in the back of your mind," said a forthcoming Santiago about his future and trade possibilities. "Are they going to make a move? Do they need another position player? Do they need another pitcher?

"Maybe they get a package deal for something like that with a team that needs a starter. You always have that in the back of your mind. Right now, I'm here and I'm going to enjoy my time here."

It would be hard to see the White Sox moving a hurler who doesn't enter free agency until after the 2017 season, even as the team's fourth southpaw starter. All four of those individuals have different styles, and the White Sox have gone with good pitchers whether they are right-handed or left-handed as manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper have stated many times previously.

But the White Sox could subtract from an area of strength to tighten up another spot on the diamond for a team in contention.

Trade talk came up for Santiago when the team was in New York during a two-game series against the Mets, according to the hurler. He quickly added that talk came from his friends and family.

"A bunch of people asked me if I'm going to the Mets. 'They need pitching,'" said Santiago with a laugh. "I'm like, 'I don't know what's going on. I don't know what they are thinking or what they are planning.'

"Obviously, it depends on what I do before Johnny comes back. I kind of try to avoid all that trade or move-to-another-team kind of thing."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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