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Santos ready to put last season in rearview mirror

TORONTO -- Sergio Santos finally has the fresh start he was looking for in a Blue Jays uniform.

Santos was acquired from the White Sox prior to the 2012 season and was expected to serve as the Blue Jays' closer, but a right shoulder injury derailed any hope of making a positive impact last year.

The 29-year-old was shut down after just six games and eventually underwent surgery, which cost him the rest of the year. His impact was non-existent, but that's something he intends to change this season.

"It feels like it's a whole new experience for me, a whole new Opening Day," Santos said. "I'm really looking forward to closing the chapter on last year and really looking to moving onto this year.

"I'm excited, I'm healthy, I feel like I'm right where I want to be as the season's starting as far as how I feel with how my stuff is coming out. It feels good."

Santos' first experience with the Blue Jays was far from being a positive one, but his actual home debut went even worse. The hard-throwing right-hander came in to close out a game versus Boston in the Blue Jays' home opener, but he proceeded to allow three earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning.

That gave Santos his first loss and second blown save of the year. He left the field to a chorus of boos, and in some ways it was a foreshadowing of what would become a nightmare season.

If there was any chance of that experience carrying over into the 2013 season it was put to rest on Tuesday night. Santos came on in relief of left-hander Aaron Loup and promptly gave up a first-pitch double, but Santos quickly settled in by striking out the next two batters he faced to end the threat.

"Obviously wishing the circumstances were different, but it felt good to just get out there again and make some pitches when I had to," Santos said after Toronto's 4-1 loss to Cleveland. "The first-pitch double was kind of like, 'Oh, man,' but it was nice to settle down, get out there and make some pitches.

"It happens. The double was just a poorly located pitch. It kind of locked me in, kind of got me a little fired up, and luckily I was able to battle back and make those key pitches."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
Read More: Toronto Blue Jays, Sergio Santos, Brett Lawrie