Danks expects to be good as old in first start Friday vs. Marlins
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 23, 2013 10:06PM
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 22: Starting pitcher John Danks #50 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 22, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The White Sox defeated the Mariners 7-4. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Updated: May 24, 2013 10:43PM
John Danks isn’t here to extend his minor-league rehab experience. He’s here to win games.
Ten months removed from shoulder surgery, Danks will pitch in a major-league game for the first time since May 19, 2012, when he faces the Miami Marlins on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
“He’s starting; he wouldn’t be here in this spot if we were expecting him to go four [innings],’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s ready to go, and he feels he’s strong enough and is going to get us a good chance to win.’’
The standard line on pitching after surgery is that it takes 12 months to be all the way back at full strength. When Danks had a sit-down with Ventura, general manager Rick Hahn and pitching coach Don Cooper on Monday, he insisted he’s capable of winning now.
“What I told Rick and Coop and Robin the other day was the same thing I’ve told y’all,’’ Danks said. “If I feel like I’m capable of getting big-league hitters out and giving us a chance to win, I’ll go out there. But I’m not going to go out there just for the sake of me going out there and getting back. This is only about wins up here. So, yeah, I’m putting the same kind of pressure on myself and same kind of expectations I had before I got hurt.’’
Danks was the Sox’ Opening Day starter last season after he signed a five-year, $65 million extension. But it’s not like the rotation was desperate to add Danks — Sox starters are 13-8 with a 2.85 ERA over the last 32 games.
“It was like Christmas Day when they told me,’’ Danks said. “Now the ball is in my court. I have to go out there and win a ballgame.’’
17 and counting
Alex Rios’ 17-game hitting streak is the longest in the American League and is the longest for the Sox since A.J. Pierzynski’s 16-game streak last year.
“I don’t want to think about it; I just want to be consistent and have a good approach at the plate,’’ Rios said. “If I get a hit, I get a hit. Sometimes you hit the ball hard and don’t get one. And you have to be OK with that.’’
This and that
Paul Konerko passed Billy Williams and tied Mike Piazza for 44th on the all-time list with his 427th homer Wednesday night. Konerko’s next milestone: He’s 13 games from tying Nellie Fox for second in Sox history (2,115).
◆ Historically good in interleague games (third-best all time), the Sox are 1-4 this season. Four games against the Cubs follow this weekend’s series against the Marlins.