White Sox sticking with Danks in starting rotation
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BALTIMORE — At least for now, struggling left-hander John Danks will remain in the White Sox pitching rotation.
Manager Robin Ventura said the veteran left-hander, who fell to 0-4 in four starts in the Sox’ 10-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles Thursday that halted the team’s six-game winning streak, will start Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
“We’re kind of past — you’re sitting there going through it — he was just in the middle of the plate,” Ventura said of Danks’ Thursday outing in which he gave up six runs on two walks and nine hits including two homers. “I think he has a good changeup, still battles and all that stuff. I know he’s frustrated, but where we’re at, we need him to battle, and at this point, that’s what we’re doing.”
Danks was a picture of dejection in a corner of the visitors clubhouse Thursday night.
Since his shoulder surgery during the 2012 season, he is 22-44 and has pitched to ERAs of 4.75, 4.74 and 4.71 in the three full seasons since. This season, Danks has a 7.25 ERA with 11 walks and 28 hits allowed over 22 1/3 innings.
Working with an 88 mph four-seam fastball and sinker, Danks knows his command has to be almost razor sharp to keep his team in a game.
“I’m in no position to pitch from behind, deep, long at-bats,” Danks said Thursday.
“I’ve got enough to worry about here than anything else. I’ll be ready to go. I’ll work hard. I’m not going to pout or anything. Never have or never will. I guess it’s part of it. I don’t know. It’s not easy, but there’s only one thing to do and that’s work hard and be ready to take the ball.”
The Sox took a 16-7 record into their game against the Orioles Friday with Danks owning four of the losses. Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Mat Latos and — with the exception of one start — Friday starter Carlos Rodon have been outstanding.
“There’s 24 guys in there that are setting the world on fire,” Danks said. “That’s probably the most disappointing part of it. Shoot man, we were hot. And still are. These guys are going to be bounce back and we’ll be fine. But [darn], got in the way of something special tonight.”
Ventura is standing behind his veteran left-hander, but the decision to keep Danks in the rotation goes above him. If the Sox demote Danks to the bullpen, that could possibly bump left-hander Dan Jennings off the 25-man roster and open a rotation spot for AAA right-handers Gonzalez (96 major league starts), Jacob Turner or Erik Johnson.
With their first off day Monday after a stretch of 19 straight games, Danks could be skipped Wednesday with the other starters working on four days rest. But for now, the Sox braintrust is going to give Danks at least one more shot at turning it around even though Danks is 2-11 in his last 15 starts 4-15 in his last 24. He’s in the final year of a five-year, $65 million contract that makes him the highest paid player on the Sox roster.