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Danks strikes out seven Cubs

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks throws against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training baseball game Friday, March 18, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — After shrugging off a bad start five days ago, John Danks threw five scoreless innings at the Cubs including seven strikeouts and one hit allowed, the only one allowed by a Sox pitcher all day in a 3-2 victory over the Cubs.

“Most of us who have been around understand that there’s a bigger picture to spring training,’’ Danks, 29 said, “and it’s good to get out there and work on something that will help you during the summer.

“Of course it feels good to go out there and have a successful outing and throw the ball where you want and it’s just a step in the right direction. It shows that [pitching coach Don Cooper] knows what he’s talking about and we’re making strides in the right direction.’’

Cooper has Danks keeping his mechanics as simple and compact as possible, Danks said, and Friday produced good results, aside from two walks and a hit by pitch.

Hot and not

Who’s hot this spring: Jose Abreu leads the Sox with 13 hits and is batting .433, Avisail Garcia has 12 with a team high 12 RBI and is batting .414. San Francisco Giants playoff hero Travis Ishikawa, who’s not out of the picture to take Adam LaRoche’s roster spot, is 8-for-21. Matt Davidson is 10-for-24 with four homers and seven RBI. Who’s not: Alex Avila had his first hit in 11 at-bats Friday. Courtney Hawkins, who had a big spring last year, is 1-for-16, his only hit a home run.

On deck

Sox vs. Dodgers in Glendale, 3:05. Clayton Kershaw vs. Chris Sale. In a matchup featuring two of baseball’s top left-handers, Sale, who has been pitching in B games and simulated games on the back fields, makes his first Cactus League start of the year.