On Friday, left-handed starter John Danks will make his season debut for the White Sox versus the Miami Marlins. Danks has not pitched in the majors since May 19th of last season, and he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on August 6th. Danks was attempting to come back from the injury this spring and start the year in the rotation, but his velocity was down following the surgery. After undergoing more throwing programs and rehab, the Sox and Danks believe that his velocity is where it needs to be for him to be effective.
Danks is coming off of a disappointing 2012 campaign where he struggled mightily prior to be injured. In nine starts Danks went 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in 53.2 innings pitched, and he carried an uncharacteristically low 1.30 (30K/23BB) strikeout to walk ratio. Danks has never been considered either a “strikeout pitcher” or “control artist”, but his numbers last year were significantly lower than his career averages. Danks owns a respectable career 2.30 strikeout to walk ratio; averaging 6.9 strikeouts and 3.0 walks per nine innings. Last year’s 5.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/ suggests that Danks’ performance may have suffered from trying to pitch through the injury.
In four minor league rehab starts, Danks has posted a 2-0 record with a 3.18 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched. Unfortunately, Danks appears to still be having issues with his control by issuing 13 walks and recording only 15 strikeouts. Those numbers resemble the walk and strikeout rates that plagued Danks last season, so hopefully he will regain his prior form very soon. We will get our first chance to see that tonight.
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