As the Los Angeles Angels look to adjust their roster accordingly to their players returning from injury, Hector Santiago became one of the few to be sent down to the minors in the shuffle on Wednesday .
Santiago has struggled mightily this season as he is 0-6 with a 4.82 ERA in nine appearances with seven starts over that span. This was not the type of start Los Angeles had envisioned when they acquired the lefty from the Chicago White Sox this past offseason, as they hoped he would solidify the back end of the starting rotation that for the most part was in shambles last year.
With that in mind, the Halos demoting Santiago to the Triple-A Salt Lake may be a good thing as it will give him time to work through his struggles and find what made him a promising young arm last season. The 26-year-old showed glimpses of potential with Chicago last season. For example, in July 0f 2013 Santiago was able to pitch at least five innings in each start that included going seven innings twice where he allowed just three runs over both appearances. For that entire month he threw 32.1 innings with a 2.78 ERA, 34 strikeouts and gave up just 10 runs over that span.
The fact that the Angels are sending him down to the minors shows that the team still has faith in the lefty to work through his pitching woes as he is looked upon as a possible long-term answer as a starter. Although Santiago being demoted is a bit of a disappointment, one must remember that he has limited experience as a starting pitcher — he had just 23 starts made through his first three years in the league prior to 2014.
It is a tough transition from being a relief pitcher to a starter that requires a totally different mindset, pace to the game and an increased level of stamina that is needed in that role. All of this is clearly something that Santiago is still adjusting to, and with this demotion it will give him to the opportunity to pitch comfortably as he finds what he needs to do to in order to become a reliable starter in the majors.
With that said, the Angels will have to remain patient and give Santiago time to work through his struggles, because if he can figure it out there is no doubt he can be a long-term solution as a starting pitcher for the team.