Friday, March 16, 2012
John Danks closing in on Opening job
By Bruce Levine
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago White Sox starter John Danks may not quite be in Opening Day form, but he is ready for the assignment if given the nod by manager Robin Ventura.
“I would love to be [the No. 1 starter] but I have not been told anything yet,” Danks said. “You hear things. I guess I am in line for it right now but, until I’m told, it’s not for sure.”
White Sox starter John Danks made his longest outing this spring against the Diamondbacks on Friday.
The Sox made a $65 million commitment to the 27-year-old pitcher in the offseason and with Mark Buehrle now pitching in Miami, it makes sense that Danks would lead the staff.
Ventura feels it is too early to make a declaration about who pitches in that coveted slot.
“For the guys there is competition,” Ventura said. “They are trying to do the best they can not only to get on the roster but get slotted.”
Danks had his longest outing of the spring on Friday, throwing four innings and giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits in taking his third Cactus League loss.
“I was happy with Johnny,” Ventura said. “He looked great. He looked a lot different than the last couple times. He had something on his fastball and commanded his changeup. That’s what he has to do.”
The Sox manager’s choices are slim after Danks with Gavin Floyd and Jake Peavy the only other possible pitchers to choose from when they open the season April 5 on the road against the defending American League champion Texas Rangers.
Multiple sources told ESPNChicago that teams are lining up with offers for Floyd, who could be a free agent (if the team declines its option) after the 2013 season.
Danks, a Texas native, would love the chance to open the season in his home state against the team that traded him to the Sox.
“Just being close to home with so many people around, with it being three hours from home, I think there would be a lot of [my] people there,” Danks said.
The lefthander is set on a schedule that would have him throwing every five days until April 5.
Ventura has two starting players with minor health issues. Adam Dunn was held out of Friday’s game with a sore neck and Brent Morel was a late morning scratch due to lower back soreness. “We are trying to get Adam’s back to calm down,” Ventura said.
Former White Sox manager Jeff Torborg was a special guest coach for Ventura on Friday. Torborg was Ventura’s first manager when he made his big league debut in 1989. Torborg’s son Dale has been a conditioning coach for the team for 10 years.