Dylan Axelrod's dream could have died in 2009, when he was toiling for the Frontier League Windy City Thunderbolts in South Suburban Crestwood.
Or even last season, when he was shuttled between the White Sox and the minor leagues four times.
"Perseverance, you know?" Axelrod said Friday. "There's a dream I had when I was a kid and it was a vision and I just went for it. I try not to let people tell me who I am and label me. I just figured I'd go for it and just play my heart out. Play as long as I can and here I am."
Axelrod broke training camp last week on the White Sox' 25-man roster, replacing rehabbing starting pitcher John Danks (shoulder).
The 27-year-old right-hander makes his first start of the season Saturday against the Mariners.
"Don't walk anybody. Get ahead. That's what I do," said Axelrod, who was 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA in 14 games (7 starts) with the Sox last year. "I'm probably not going to strike out a ton of guys. Just make them put it in play and let the defense work, pound the zone."
Axelrod draws Seattle ace Felix Hernandez in his season debut.
"Yeah, I know who is there," Axelrod said. "I'm just pitching against the lineup so I feel like if I go out and put up a good effort, we are going to have a chance to win."
In an extended spring training game Thursday, John Danks allowed 1 run in 5 innings while throwing 77 pitches.
Sox pitching coach Don Cooper got a positive report from Glendale, Ariz., but he said Danks' return to the White Sox' rotation is still a ways off.
"He's got some work to do and a climb ahead of him," Cooper said. "Things are coming a little bit. But as far as how long and what it is, I don't think anybody has the answer to that."
The White Sox had a day off Tuesday, and they get another break in the schedule Monday before opening a 10-game road trip at Washington.
The Sox could have skipped No. 5 starter Dylan Axelrod against the Mariners on Saturday, but manager Robin Ventura wants to keep the entire rotation fresh for the long haul.
"You're going to throw your five guys out there," Ventura said. "It was thought about, but it wasn't seriously thought about. Let everybody have their rest and go from there. We want to make sure we have (Sale) for a long time."