Danks: ‘We’ve got to hit ground running this year’

SHARE Danks: ‘We’ve got to hit ground running this year’

John Danks throws against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 28, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — With a 11-7  win against the Colorado Rockies on Monday,  the Sox (14-12-1) assured themselves of not leaving Arizona with a losing Cactus League record.

With two games to go in Arizona and two exhibitions in San Diego, the Sox are looking forward to the Chris Sale vs. Sonny Gray Opening Night Monday in Oakland. Said John Danks, who will pitch the home opener April 8: “We’re a tight group that is having fun playing hard and playing well right now. Unfortunately, these games don’t count. … we haven’t done anything yet. We know that and we’ve got to hit the ground running this year. We’ve dug ourselves some holes the last couple of years in April. The focus this year is to not do that.’’

Rox rock Danks for 3 straight homers

Making the last of six starts in Arizona, Danks (who’ll face the Padres Saturday in San Diego), came in with two straight scoreless outings under his belt but gave up three hits and a run in the first inning, then consecutive homers by Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez in the third.

What happened?

“I kind of felt myself falling back into some of my old tendencies,’’ said Danks (six innings, four runs, five strikeouts), who gathered himself and finished by retiring 12 of the last 13 batters he faced. “I would like to have a couple of those pitches back from the third inning, but it was good all around.’’

Danks will more than likely feature more curveballs during the regular season than he showed in his six spring starts. The dry air here isn’t conducive to the pitch.

“That’s just Arizona,” Danks said. “It’s been like that every year. The air here, I guess. I’m not a scientist or anything like that. Out here if you can just see some sort of shape, you know you’re spinning it right. Nobody’s breaking ball is sharp out here.”

Stay hot

Matt Davidson went 3-for-4, hiking his average to .413 and hitting his team-high fifth home run. The third baseman appears to be a long shot to make the Opening Day roster as a bench player, though, as the Sox would like to see him excel over an extended period after two years of scuffling at AAA Charlotte.

On deck

Rangers at Sox, Glendale, 3:05, 890-AM, whitesox.com. A.J. Griffin vs. Chris Sale.

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