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posted: 3/19/2013 10:25 PM

Starting to look iffy for White Sox' Danks

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  • White Sox starting pitcher John Danks delivers against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning Tuesday at Goodyear, Ariz.

      White Sox starting pitcher John Danks delivers against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning Tuesday at Goodyear, Ariz.
    Associated Press

 
 

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Afterward, most of the statements were predictable.

"There are going to be good days and bad."

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"I felt like when I'd make a good pitch it would get hit and certainly when I'd make a bad pitch they got hit."

"I've just got to go out there and keep on working hard and continue to do what I'm doing."

White Sox left-hander John Danks nailed all of the clichés Tuesday after getting hammered, again, in a Cactus League start.

This time Danks' pitching line was particularly unsightly: 3 innings, 11 hits, 10 earned runs, 2 home runs, 2 walks and no strikeouts in the Sox' 10-6 Cactus League loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Through 4 spring starts, Danks has allowed 20 earned runs on 27 hits in 11 innings.

After the latest, Danks answered most questions without really saying anything.

But the 27-year-old Texan did acknowledge he is not likely to be ready when the regular season comes calling April 1.

"I don't have to get to where I can throw 120 pitches, but I do need to get to where I can get us through 6 innings," said Danks, who is coming back from Aug. 6 shoulder surgery. "I can't be the guy out there that's a burden on the bullpen every five days.

"It's coming, but obviously judging by today, it's not there yet."

While stopping short of saying Danks is not coming north on the 25-man roster late next week, manager Robin Ventura strongly hinted the White Sox are going to have to look at other options, most likely Hector Santiago.

"The window is closing," Ventura said. "It is getting pretty tight. But we'll look at him tomorrow and kind of assess that then. Results wise, he wants better. Everybody wants better."

Judging from his outing against Cincinnati, Danks doesn't appear to be close to helping the White Sox.

Yes, the fastball still needs some zip. Considering he's coming off shoulder surgery and hasn't pitched in a regular-season game since May 19, there's no surprise there.

But that's just one of many issues, and there is only time for Danks to make 2 more spring starts.

"I think Coop (pitching coach Don Cooper) and I are going to talk about more than velocity," Danks said. "We'll probably talk about making better pitches and really just trying to stay ahead in the count.

"I feel I did that for the most part today, and when I get ahead, being able to make a pitch to put them away.

"I was giving them too good of pitches to hit when I was ahead. There were times I'd try to strike a guy out or try to put them away and I'd let them back in the count. That's just stuff you have to work on."

Extended spring training is a definite option for Danks, as is opening the season with Class AAA Charlotte.

"Again, we'll see how he is tomorrow," Ventura said. "For me, that's the biggest thing. And then we make the decision."

Considering what he went through last season and the physical and mental challenges he has dealt with this spring, Danks sounded like he'd almost be relieved to no longer have to push so hard to make the opening-day roster.

"That's got to be the mentality, just getting ready," Danks said. "Not put a time on anything. It's not my decision to make. I feel like physically I'm making strides. Obviously, the results haven't been there.

"Day to day, physically, I'm feeling better and getting there. I knew it was going to be a process. It's tough some times, but that's part of it."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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