Barely a year removed from making the move from infielder to pitcher, right-hander Sergio Santos will become the 28th former member of the Missoula Osprey to earn Major League experience when Opening Day hits on Monday, April 5, as Santos has made the Opening Day roster of the Chicago White Sox.
One year ago, Santos was reacquired by the White Sox from the San Francisco Giants. When the trade was made, White Sox Minor League Director Buddy Bell suggested that Santos, who was a shortstop while in Missoula during the 2002 season, be turned into a pitcher.
That move turned out to be a good idea. Santos, who possesses a 98-mile-per-hour fastball, pitched in every full-season level for the White Sox in 2009 - Class A Kannapolis, Class A Advanced Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte - while adding pitches to his arsenal. The numbers did not reflect the growth, however, as Santos was 0-3 in his four stops with an 8.16 ERA, but did strike out 30 batters in 28 2/3 innings pitched.
Santos then pitched in the Arizona Fall League, where he was 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA. However, the off-speed stuff began to take shape, and Santos fanned 20 batters in 14 2/3 innings of work. That was followed by a solid Spring Training, striking out 13 batters in eight spring innings, which helped him earn the final bullpen spot on the Opening Day Roster.
With Missoula in 2002, Santos hit .272 with 19 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 37 RBIs and six stolen bases while playing 54 games, all but two of them at shortstop. In seven minor-league seasons as a position player, Santos batted .248 in 771 games.
Santos will be in the bullpen for Opening Day, when the White Sox host the Cleveland Indians on Monday, April 5.
The 2010 version of the Osprey will open their season on June 21 at Helena, and open the home schedule on June 25 against Billings.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.