Chicago White Sox SP John Danks Inching Closer To Return

John Danks Chicago White Sox

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

After signing a five-year, $65 million extension with the Chicago White Sox two offseasons ago, not much has gone right for John Danks.

Danks posted a 5.70 ERA in nine starts to begin the 2012 season. After feeling some shoulder discomfort in mid May of that season, the lefty was sent to the DL, which eventually turned into a season-ending shoulder surgery.

Heading into camp this spring, Danks set a goal to make the Sox opening day roster. Although things seemed to be on track for the 28-year-old year starter as Spring Training got underway, Danks was never fully able to regain his velocity and started the 2013 season on the DL.

The last 11 months have undoubtedly been tough for Danks. However, it appears the lefty hurler is one step away from returning to the big leagues.

In his second rehab start Tuesday night, Danks posted a 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K line for the Sox Triple-A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights. These numbers aren’t overly impressive. But as long as he has no other setbacks, just one more rehab start may lie between Danks and his long awaited return.

There’s no doubt Chicago will accept Danks with open arms when he is able to rejoin the team. However, Danks’ return will make for a very interesting decision for manager Robin Ventura.

Chris SaleJake Peavy and Jose Quintana will remain in the South Siders rotation when Danks comes back, meaning Ventura will have to choose between Dylan Axelrod and Hector Santiago for the final spot on the Sox starting staff.

Although I believe Santiago is the better talent, Ventura will most likely keep Axelrod in the rotation due to the fact that Santiago is a better fit in the Sox bullpen and the right-handed Axelrod will balance out the Pale Hose rotation.

Chicago’s starting pitching continues to be their strong suit in 2013. If Danks is able to find his form from a few years ago, the Sox rotation may become even stronger.

Matt Malecha is a Chicago White Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMalecha and add him to your network on Google

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