Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
The bottom line is, John Danks’ arm has yet to fall off this spring. After all, there were times during the 2013 season when it appeared that it would, or perhaps even HAD fallen off. Danks is certainly far removed from his fantastic game 163 “Black-Out Game” victory over the Twins to send the White Sox to the playoffs in 2008.
After all, that game was probably at least part of the reason the Sox and owner Jerry Reinsdorf (a guy who NEVER signs pitchers to long term contracts) signed Danks to a 4 year $65 million contract in late 2011, was it not? But, they have to resign a guy who knows how to pitch well in clutch situations, such as a game 163, right?
Perhaps a nice thought at the time has completely back-fired on the Sox and Reinsdorf since Danks’ hand (still attached at the time) penned his signature to that lucrative contract before the 2012 season. Danks injured his shoulder in May, and missed the majority of the 2012 season after surgery.
And though the Sox had a winning season in 2012, Danks’ injury certainly became a talking point, and continued into 2013. A 2013 season in which Danks threw batting practice virtually every game he pitched. He was so bad in fact, that I won’t even give you the numbers. You can just, Google them, right?
But, as Spring Training success often does for teams every year, create a sense of false hope and excitement, Danks’ success so far in 2014, albeit only 2 starts (but 2 scoreless starts!!) is promising.
And in order for the Sox to be successful in 2014 (and dare I say, compete?), Danks has to be some semblance of his old self. While his velocity has dropped since surgery, Danks’ pitching arsenal, mainly his out-pitch (his change-up), seems to have remained intact. And luckily, so has his arm.