Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago White Sox [Print without images]

Saturday, June 18, 2011
Danks takes blow to head, Dbacks feel pain

By Doug Padilla

There is plenty of proof of how resilient Chicago White Sox starter John Danks can be, with Saturday’s act of bravery high on the list.

Danks continued to pitch despite taking a line drive off the back of his head in the fourth inning of his outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the whole scene might have been even more impressive than it sounds.

John Danks
White Sox pitcher John Danks jokes with teammate Gordon Beckham after being hit by a batted ball during the fourth inning at Chase Field.
After the game, Danks was scheduled to undergo a CT scan as a precaution. He was diagnosed with a contusion, with the White Sox pointing out it was “NOT a concussion.”

Danks recorded 12 more outs after the Stephen Drew liner conked him behind the left ear and bounced out of play at the end of the Diamondbacks dugout. Drew was given a ground-rule double that put runners on second and third with no outs.

Danks’ reaction? Knowing the ball bounced up in the air after hitting him in the head, he actually scanned the air as if he thought he could catch the ball for an out.

Both of those runners scored, but Danks would not give up another run, even when Arizona had runners on second and third with one out in the seventh inning while the Sox clung to a one-run lead.

The liner was definitely no glancing blow. When Danks came back to the dugout after the inning, he took off his cap to reveal a raised welt. Through it all, Danks had a sheepish grin on his face, except perhaps for the intense look he had after escaping trouble in the seventh.

During a season when Danks started 0-8, his determination has been impressive. Just the fact that he never quit on himself after his rough start is a credit in itself.

Unexpectedly, Danks might have been at his toughest while in the midst of his eighth defeat, a 13-4 loss to Toronto on May 29, which was also his worst start of the season.

During that outing, when he gave up nine runs in four innings, Danks took exception to home-run leader Jose Bautista slamming his bat to the ground in frustration after popping out. Danks barked at Bautista, not liking Bautista’s implied suggestion that he should have ripped the cover off Danks’ pitch.

Danks claimed afterward that it was his pride talking. Coincidentally or not, Danks has been impressive ever since. He beat the Seattle Mariners, he downed the Oakland A’s and on Saturday he got the best of the Diamondbacks while showing just how hard-headed he can be.

Once considered a weak link of the starting staff, facing a possible demotion to the bullpen, Danks has become another impressive White Sox starter.

That 3-8 record might not scare anybody, but when he faces the Washington Nationals at home on Friday he will take the mound on a roll, not to mention with the air of somebody that even physical punishment can't push around.