Angels' Hector Santiago hit on forearm, 'more meat than bone' nailed

Angels starter Hector Santiago is hit in forearm by line drive, but he says ball got 'more meat than bone'

It's always unnerving for a pitcher to be in his follow-through and see a line drive coming right back at him.

"You're falling off the mound, you see the ball coming, and you say, 'Ahhhh!' " Angels left-hander Hector Santiago said. "You have no time to react."

Santiago found himself in that position in the third inning Sunday when Chicago White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie ripped a shot that hit Santiago on the outside of his left forearm near the wrist.

Manager Mike Scioscia removed Santiago immediately, but the pitcher said the injury is not serious. The ball hit more soft tissue than bone, and though the forearm did swell, Santiago expects to make his next start Friday.

"It got more meat than bone — it was nothing loud," Santiago said. "I put some ice on it to keep the swelling down, but it should be back to normal [Monday]. I'll take the ball in five days. Knowing me, I'd throw tomorrow. I've been hit a bunch of times. It's going to take a lot more than that to knock me out."

Santiago gave up all three of his runs and four of his six hits in the third, when Chicago scored on Alexei Ramirez's run-scoring double and Gillaspie's liner, an infield single. The third run scored on reliever Greg Mahle's balk.

It takes a thief

Mike Trout, who said he wants to run more this season, is putting those words into action. He stole second base and then third in the third inning of Sunday's 5-3 exhibition loss to the White Sox at Camelback Ranch and scored on David Freese's grounder to shortstop.

Trout stole 49 bases in 2012 and 33 in 2013 but only 16 in 2014, when opposing pitchers paid extra attention to him. Scioscia said the Angels aren't pressing Trout, who has three stolen bases this spring, to run more.

"It's nothing we're putting more emphasis on," he said. "Mike's going to steal bases when it's important to us, when he has the opportunity to."

But there is a benefit to the Angels and especially Albert Pujols, who bats behind Trout, if an opposing pitcher makes a mistake because he's focusing so much on a speedy baserunner.

"If pitchers try to shut down Mike, it's an advantage for Albert or whoever's hitting behind Mike," Scioscia said. "And if they're paying more attention to the hitter, there's going to be an opening for Mike. So however it plays out, his speed is a weapon for us, even if it doesn't show up in the pure number of stolen bases."

Impressive prospect

Sean Newcomb, the team's first-round pick in 2014, was among a group of seven Angels players reassigned to minor league camp Sunday, which came as no surprise. Minor league exhibition games begin Thursday, and the 6-foot-5, 245-pound left-hander needs to get stretched out for the season.

Newcomb made a good impression in three weeks with his smooth, effortless delivery, 95-mph fastball, curve and changeup, his physique and repertoire drawing comparisons to Jon Lester.

"In terms of stuff," Scioscia said, "he has a chance to be really special."

There has been speculation Newcomb could pitch in the big leagues this season, but the Angels won't rush him.

"He needs some refinement," Scioscia said. "He has to find his release point. Part of it is, how do you get back in sync when you lose it? There are a lot of things in a pitcher's progression that he needs to figure out."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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