03/20/2013 8:53 PM ET
Santiago proud of Puerto Rico's run in Classic
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Hector Santiago was stationed in front of the television, along with his fiancée, when the 2013 World Baseball Classic championship between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico began Tuesday night.
If Santiago had made a different decision a few months ago, he could have been pitching for Puerto Rico in this deciding battle. Instead, the 25-year-old opted to remain with the White Sox.
Santiago has no regrets over the decision, even with the surprise push to the championship by Puerto Rico.
"It's your goal in baseball to play in the big leagues. That's always your No. 1 priority," Santiago said. "If I had to do it again, I would still make the same choice knowing I had the chance to make the team and probably playing with Team Puerto Rico had a chance to mess this opportunity up over here."
There might have been some sort of small doubt in Santiago's mind about breaking camp with the White Sox, but the truth is that the versatile southpaw was and is a veritable roster lock. The more specific opportunity afforded to Santiago stood as the fifth spot within the White Sox rotation.
John Danks, coming back from Aug. 6 arthroscopic shoulder surgery, is healthy but not getting the desired results either in the velocity area or command. Those issues have Danks beginning the season on the disabled list, giving him a chance to further build up arm strength.
Santiago and Dylan Axelrod remain the two replacement options, but Axelrod looks to be the favorite as the fifth starter. Even if Santiago knew these results ahead of time, he wouldn't have changed his decision.
Not playing for Puerto Rico doesn't lessen the pride Santiago has for the team or his appreciation for what the team accomplished.
"I know every single person on that team, so you really are just watching your friends," Santiago said. "I was happy for them. I talked to [Puerto Rico manager] Edwin [Rodriguez] and told him congratulations. It was great. He was like, 'We wish you were here, but I respect you for the decision you made. That's your career and what it's going to be in the long run.'
"Definitely it would have been nice to be there. Hopefully, I break camp with the team and in four years get a chance to play with Team Puerto Rico at that time."
Viciedo's right quad better, expects to play Thursday
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The right quadriceps strain that knocked Dayan Viciedo from Tuesday's game against the Reds kept the left fielder inactive Wednesday against the D-backs. But Viciedo is scheduled to return to the starting lineup Thursday against the Brewers.
"I feel good and I feel like maybe tomorrow I'll get a chance to play," Viciedo said through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "But I'm definitely not going to push it before I need to. It's nothing major. It's something I should be able to work through."
Viciedo described the injury as his muscle getting "constrained and hurt a little bit" right after he hit a triple. When Viciedo stood up at third base, that's when he felt the muscle strain.
"I went and got treatment," Viciedo said. "And I feel much better."
Dunn plays left, throws out runner at plate
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luckily for Adam Dunn, there were no fly balls hit his way during his 2013 Cactus League debut in left field Wednesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch.
It wasn't that Dunn felt unsure about a position in which he has played 1,016 games over the course of his career. It's just that his glove wasn't ready.
"I was definitely afraid of getting a fly ball today because it's not where it needs to be by any means," said a smiling Dunn of his outfield glove. "It felt normal. I hadn't taken any fly balls out there all spring. I did it today during batting practice and everything felt fine."
Dunn probably won't play too many games in left field during the course of the season, aside from National League-hosted Interleague contests. He made five starts in left last season.
But if called upon, Dunn has the ability to handle the responsibilities. With two outs in the fourth inning, Dunn threw out catcher Rod Barajas at the plate as he tried to score from second on Cliff Pennington's soft single to left.
"Yeah, you won't have an easier one," Dunn said. "No offense to Rod, he's not Michael Johnson or anything. It was kind of a little perfect storm. I'm just glad I didn't airmail it.
"It just gives everybody more options. If I don't go out there and make a complete you know what of myself, it gives [manager] Robin [Ventura] a few more options, especially in National League cities."
Strikeouts nice but not Floyd's priority
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After striking out five over five innings during a 4-2 loss to the D-backs on Wednesday, Gavin Floyd took the team Cactus League lead with 15 strikeouts over 13 2/3 innings.
But the right-hander, who has no fewer than 144 strikeouts in each of the last five seasons, with a high of 163, doesn't consider himself a strikeout pitcher.
"When you need a strikeout, you get a strikeout. But I like to get guys out," Floyd said. "That's been the way to get into the game late and to stay in the ballgame as long as possible. You try to strike out everyone and I don't think you're really going [to last long] … unless you are throwing three pitches each time."
Third to first
• Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios will return to the White Sox on Thursday and will be part of the starting lineup against the Brewers. De Aza played for the champion Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic, while Rios played for the runner-up from Puerto Rico.
• Jordan Danks has 12 hits in his last 17 at-bats.
• White Sox general manager Rick Hahn celebrated a birthday on Wednesday.
• Jesse Crain threw one inning in a Minor League game on Wednesday against the Dodgers. Crain allowed one run on two hits and threw 23 pitches. Because of a strained right adductor, Crain has pitched in just one Cactus League game this spring, on Feb. 25 against the Giants.