With the Los Angeles Dodgers expected to be without closer Kenley Jansen until at least the end of April, many relief pitchers are attempting to step up during Spring Training and take on the role until Jansen returns.
One of the pitchers is Sergio Santos, an ex-closer who is pitching in the National League for the first time in his career. When asked if he has thought of the possibility of closing for the Dodgers this season, Santos replied, “Not yet. It’s still a little early. Would I like to? Of course. I think if you ask anybody in a bullpen role, everybody wants to be a closer.”
Santos, was signed by the Dodgers in January and is in big league camp on a Minor-League deal. The right-hander has played five seasons in the Majors, with the last three coming in Toronto.
The 31-year-old figures to get a look from manager Don Mattingly considering previous experience as a closer. In 2011, Santos was the closer for the Chicago White Sox and finished the season with 30 saves and a 3.55 ERA.
Though not as a closer, Santos’ best season came in 2013 with the Blue Jays in which he posted a 1.75 ERA and held opponents to a .128 batting average in 29 games. While Santos is open to closing, it’s not the end-all, be-all for him.
“Any way I can help this team, whether it be the seventh, eighth, or ninth, I am looking forward to it,” he said. Santos is one of 15 pitchers who are vying for a spot in the bullpen out of Spring Training. Thus far, he’s made two appearances, and recorded two strikeouts two strikeouts in two innings without allowing a runner to reach base.
Should Santos sustain these numbers, the Dodgers would be hard pressed to not include him on the active roster come Opening Day.
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