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Hector Santiago makes first start since tongue-lashing from Don Cooper

The Chicago White Sox Hector Santiago during Spring Training Camelback Ranch Glendale AZ Tuesday February 19 2013. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times

The Chicago White Sox Hector Santiago during Spring Training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 8, 2013 6:15AM

BALTIMORE — Hector Santiago, his ears still burning seven days after pitching coach Don Cooper’s “walks suck, walks suck, walks suck” rant in Boston, returns to the mound to face the Orioles on Saturday.

Santiago, who matched a career high with five walks last Friday, was unfazed by Cooper telling the media the next day that his outing was bad. What touched a nerve was Cooper questioning his pitching guts between innings.

“What kind of got me was he [suggested] I was scared of guys,’’ Santiago said.

“I would never pitch around anybody. I don’t care who you are. [Miguel] Cabrera, I’m going to go after you with my best stuff. I didn’t like that because I’m not that guy at all. If you kind of saw that, it kind of got me.’’

Garcia in, Garcia out

Leury Garcia played shortstop in place of Alexei Ramirez, and manager Robin Ventura said Garcia will play second base Saturday. Rookie Marcus Semien likely will play Saturday, as will Avisail Garcia, who was given a day off Friday.

“You’re going to put [young players] in situations to see how they handle it, to see how they play,’’ Ventura said. “And we’re in the mode of seeing who’s going to make a run at certain positions.’’

Soldiers offer perspective

Five Sox spent time with wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Ever since Scott Linebrink organized a visit in 2008, players have come away humbled and armed with perspective.

“Unbelievable, man,’’ rookie Conor Gillaspie said. “Everybody says it makes you appreciate things. If I get super frustrated about this [baseball], I will go back and remember what those guys have been through.

Gillaspie, Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Dylan Axelrod and Donnie Veal met with three soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

“Hospital visits can be tough, with kids especially, but this was different,’’ Axelrod said. “People who have served our country, with missing legs, yet their attitudes are great. No matter how things could be going for us, it puts things in perspective.’’

Cooper falls ill again

Cooper wasn’t feeling well Friday and was sent back to the hotel by trainer Herm Schneider. Cooper apparently experienced symptoms associated with Diverticulitis, a condition that hospitalized him in April.


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