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White Sox’ John Danks knows back end of rotation matters, too

Post shoulder surgery, John Danks doesn’t have the same stuff that earned him a five-year, $65 million contract in Dec. 2011 and made him the Opening Day starter the following spring.
The 30-year-old left-hander knows it. He accepts it and still enjoys his craft, even though he is a different pitcher than he used to be.
“My stuff’s different but my attitude is the same,’’ Danks said. “I still feel I have as good a chance as any to give us a chance to win.
“I love going out and trying to beat up on people.”
While Sale, Samardzija and Quintana are viewed as a team strength, Danks and Hector Noesi on the back end are viewed as question marks.
“Where I slot on paper doesn’t mean anything the day I get the ball,’’ said Danks, who will open a three-game series against the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field Monday night. “We have our big three and we expect a lot out of them but that means nothing if me and Hector don’t do our jobs. We think we’re fully capable of doing that.’’
With prized lefty Carlos Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft last June, joining the team tonight, those fourth and fifth spots will be scrutinized even more. Rodon is starting out in the Sox bullpen but figures to join the rotation at some point this season.
Danks pitched to ERAs of 4.74 and 4.75 in his last two seasons, following surgery. That was close to a run higher than what he pitched too before he got hurt. He is 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts this season. He hasn’t finished a sixth inning, and he lasted 4 2/3 innings against the Indians Wednesday. He has allowed one homer and three walks, which are points of emphasis Danks and pitching coach Don Cooper made going into the season.
“The goal this season is keeping the ball in the park, keep the walks down and get as weak of contact as possible,’’ Danks said. “I feel pretty good about having done that. I’m not down or discouraged in any way. I have to keep doing what I’m doing and get a little better.’’
Right-hander Trevor Bauer (2-0, 1.50), who beat Danks Wednesday by holding the Sox to two runs over six innings, will start for the Indians, whom Danks has not fared well against during his career. Danks is 5-12 with a 5.19 ERA against Cleveland. Only the Twins, Blue Jays and Astros have been tougher on him.