Even though John Danks is about to begin his seventh season in the majors, he admits he will have some nerves heading into his first outing in more than a year for the Chicago White Sox.
Danks will make his first start since arthroscopic shoulder surgery in Friday night's opener of a three-game home set against the Miami Marlins .
The left-hander last pitched May 19, 2012, against the Cubs before he was placed on the disabled list six days later. He underwent surgery in August, and had a woeful 16.36 ERA in spring training before posting a 3.18 over four starts at Triple-A Charlotte in preparation for his return.
"It seems like a few years," he said. "I was thinking about that, it's almost a year to the day that I pitched my last game."
Danks, who went 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in nine 2012 starts, said he will feel nervous Friday.
"I know I will, it's been a long time," Danks said. "I'm excited, this is fun. I've been looking forward to getting back."
The minor-league hitters Danks faced may be comparable to many that he will see Friday against a Marlins team averaging a major league-low 2.7 runs. He is most familiar with Placido Polanco (4 for 24 against Danks) and Miguel Olivo (7 for 22).
Danks said that he progressed well in his rehab outings, and his White Sox teammates are glad to see him back.
"As a friend, I'm happy for him and I hope it goes well," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "But for me, as long as he walks off that field healthy after that game, there's really no bad outing."
Chicago (21-24) can relate somewhat to Miami's offensive woes, with the White Sox averaging 3.7 runs for the AL's second-worst mark.
The club is gaining confidence, however, since it has won six of nine after taking two of three at home from Boston this week."It's good for our record, but I think it should be good for our confidence that we belong on the same field as some of these teams," said Konerko, who ended a 17-game homerless drought in Wednesday's 6-2 loss. "I don't think we doubt that anyway, but it reinforces it."
The Marlins (13-34), in contrast, probably don't belong on the field with most teams as owners of baseball's worst record. Miami fell for the ninth time in 11 games as it managed three singles - with only one leaving the infield - in Wednesday's 3-0 home defeat to Philadelphia.
Rookie Marcell Ozuna had one of the infield hits to extend his streak to eight games - the longest by a Marlin this year.
Another rookie, Tom Koehler (0-2, 2.82 ERA), will make his third start and fourth of his career as he still searches for his first victory. The right-hander gave up a leadoff homer Saturday against Arizona, but allowed only two other hits over six innings in a 1-0 home defeat."This is something to build off of," Koehler said. "Hopefully, next time I can limit the pitch count a little bit more and eliminate some of those three-ball counts. And try to put as many zeroes as possible. That's my goal every time."
The Marlins lead the all-time series, 5-4.
|May 19, 2013||Matt Diaz||15-Day DL||Left knee bone contusion|
|May 08, 2013||Chris Valaika||15-Day DL||Fractured left wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Donovan Solano||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal muscle|
|April 30, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 29, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|April 28, 2013||Joe Mahoney||15-Day DL||Hamstring strain|
|Chicago White Sox|
|May 22, 2013||Chris Sale||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|May 02, 2013||Dewayne Wise||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|May 02, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|April 28, 2013||Gavin Floyd||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|April 22, 2013||Hector Gimenez||Day-to-Day||Left shin|
|April 19, 2013||Dayan Viciedo||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
CHICAGO (AP) -- John Danks wanted to pitch deeper into the game.
Nevertheless, he was still happy with the results.
Danks was solid in his season debut and Jeff Keppinger drove in the winning run on a single in the 11th inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Friday night.
Danks allowed three runs and four hits in six innings in his first start since undergoing shoulder surgery in August to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in his rotator cuff and biceps. He struck out five, walked none and hit a batter in the opener of the interleague series.
"It was a good first one," Danks said. "I did as much as I had hoped to do. Obviously, as the game went on, I wanted to go further, but I totally understand the move, totally agree with the move and I'm glad we got the win."
Danks went 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in nine starts last season as the team's opening day starter. He last pitched May 19, 2012, against the Cubs. The left-hander made four minor-league rehab starts before debuting Friday.
He threw 76 pitches, allowing a two-run home run to Derek Dietrich in the fourth.
"The best part was his command and keeping everything in check and doing everything he needed to do," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He was getting people to swing and miss. It's what you would expect of him coming back and being at full strength."
Paul Konerko started the White Sox rally with a one-out single in the 11th. Pinch runner Tyler Greene moved to third when Dayan Viciedo singled off the glove of second baseman Dietrich.
After Ryan Webb (1-2) intentionally walked Conor Gillaspie , Keppinger singled to left field.
"It just feels like our offense is starting to do a little bit more and we're still getting good pitching," Keppinger said.
Nate Jones (1-4) pitched two-thirds of an inning for the win.
Marlins starter Tom Koehler gave up three runs in six innings in his first career interleague start. He struck out three and walked one.
Koehler remained in the game after a Keppinger line drive struck him on the back of his right shoulder in the third inning. Koehler said the ball struck him underneath his shoulder blade.
"It actually hit me in a pretty decent spot," Koehler said. "As far as affecting the way I threw, it had no bearing on anything, which was nice. It will be a little sore tomorrow, but it shouldn't be anything to worry about."
The Marlins tied it 3-3 in the seventh. Marcell Ozuna led off with a double, forcing Danks from the game.
Ozuna advanced on a Justin Ruggiano single off Matt Lindstrom and scored on a Miguel Olivo sacrifice fly. After a Nick Green single loaded the bases, Lindstrom got a double play to end the inning.
Konerko hit a go-ahead, two-out single off Koehler for a 3-2 White Sox lead in the sixth. Alex Rios scored after extending his career-high and AL-leading hitting streak to 18 games with a one-out single.
Dietrich hit a two-run homer off Danks for a 2-0 Marlins lead in the fourth. Placido Polanco scored after leading off with a single for the Marlins' first hit.
"I felt great. I felt really good," Danks said. "I felt like I was able to make the ball move and do what I wanted to do for the most part. There were a few pitches I would like to have back. I felt like I made a good pitch to Polanco, and he got a knock and the homer. I should have thought more about that one."
The White Sox scored two runs to tie it 2-2 in the fifth. Keppinger's RBI groundout scored Viciedo, who reached on a force out and advanced on a Gillaspie double. Hector Gimenez hit a two-out single to tie it.
The White Sox threatened in the 10th. Keppinger led off with a single before Chad Qualls hit Gimenez with a pitch. Both runners advanced on an Alejandro De Aza sacrifice bunt. After Qualls intentionally walked Alexei Ramirez , Rios hit into an inning-ending double play with a close call at first that brought out Ventura to talk to umpire Angel Hernandez. Replays showed Rios' foot on the bag before the throw arrived.
"You have to put it behind you," Ventura said. "Fortunately, you get somebody on, and Paulie gets on and Tank (Viciedo) got that hit (in the 11th). Stuff happens. You just have to roll with it."
NOTES: The White Sox are hopeful LHP Chris Sale will make his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Cubs. He missed his start Wednesday against the Red Sox because of shoulder tendinitis. "In my mind, I'm going for sure, but I don't know what (the team has)," Sale said. "That's the target. That's what we're shooting for, but just like anything else, it's out of my hands." Sale said he felt good going through his shoulder program and he plans to play long toss Saturday. ... White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham won't play in his rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte until at least Wednesday because he is experiencing soreness in his left hand, general manager Rick Hahn said. The hamate bone in Beckham's left hand was removed April 16, and he began a rehab assignment May 18. "It's nothing to be alarmed about," Hahn said. ... To make room for Danks, the White Sox optioned LHP Donnie Veal to Triple-A after Wednesday's game.