GEORGE CASTLE: The ‘other’ Danks makes his own pitch to start

2013-08-28T22:00:00Z 2013-09-12T22:37:06Z GEORGE CASTLE: The ‘other’ Danks makes his own pitch to startGeorge Castle Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 28, 2013 10:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Good defensive outfielder, can play all three positions.

Check.

Speedy, can steal some bags, good percentage swiping bases.

Check.

Left-handed bat with decent pop.

Check.

Thirty-three strikeouts in 97 plate appearances.

Uh, gotta leave it blank for now.

Age 27 and knocking on the door for a big White Sox role.

Can check it only in pencil because there’s age discrimination, baseball-style, floating about.

With the couple of nagging exceptions, Jordan Danks has most of what it takes to fit into Sox general manager Rick Hahn’s vision of a more athletic roster of everyday players. He’s on a hot streak just at the right time for a player auditioning for a bigger role in 2014.

Danks is zeroing in on a long-term fourth outfielder’s gig, the type Dewayne Wise filled last season. The question is can he – and should he – shoot for something even better with Hahn obviously hungering to inject fresh blood into the lineup?

Someone up the food chain has caught on to the idea.

“You just continue to play,” said manager Robin Ventura. “It’s nice to do it this year. But when we come back next year, you see what’s there and move on from there. He’s doing a very good job putting it in our minds that he’s that kind of guy (first-stringer) and move forward from there. Production takes care of that stuff.”

Danks is going as fast as he can, as hard as he can, to lock up a dream after bouncing back and fourth from the minors the past two seasons. He seems to have picked up the pace to make up for lost time, after having spent all or part of the past four years at Triple-A Charlotte. Danks got on the fast track to get to Triple-A after a bit more than one full minor-league season, then seemed to stall out.

“In the long run, I’d like to be a big-league starter,” he said before batting seventh in the order Wednesday against the Houston Astros. Danks tried to extend a career-high nine-game hitting streak.

He will take whatever opportunity Ventura gives him. He can’t cut down his strikeout totals unless he plays regularly. Yet if he fans too much, he won’t play every day, and opportunity will recede.

“It’s tough to be that (contact) guy without having a lot of bats stringing together,” said Ventura. “I think strikeouts usually happen for guys because rhythm-wise, they’re getting sporadic at-bats. If he gets more at-bats, that stuff goes down.”

Danks is well aware of the issue.

“Especially lately, getting in hitter’s counts and being more selective, as opposed to getting myself out,” he said.

The satisfaction will be if Danks makes it, he’ll do it on his own.

Going a year forward, a productive lefty-lefty brother combo on the Sox is a story that ought to happen.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at DGemsNet@aol.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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