Danks working for results, durability

Inconsistency left-hander's biggest area of improvement

Danks working for results, durability

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- John Danks has worked at least 177 innings and made at least 30 starts in each of his last two seasons. There's certainly value in any rotation for that sort of durability.

It's not enough for the veteran southpaw to simply be durable.

Danks gives up 8 runs over 4 1/3 against D-backs

"Are you asking me if I'm OK with a 4.50 [ERA]? [No]," said a smiling Danks, who has had 4.71 and 4.74 ERAs over the last two seasons. "I'll take 200 innings, but certainly would like to be a lot more consistent than I have been the last couple of years.

"Definitely, I would sum up the last couple of years as disappointing, so I'm hoping to improve on that. The way I look at it is if a starting pitcher gets to 200 innings, he's doing something right. He's staying healthy, he's taking the ball, and you have to stay in the game long enough to get to 200 innings.

"Certainly, the goal every season is to throw 200 innings," Danks said. "Consistency is something [pitching coach Don Cooper] and I have harped on. Hopefully, this is the year we turn it around and get to where we expect it to be."

Danks' final line in Sunday's 11-4 loss to Arizona, with eight runs allowed over 4 1/3 innings, looks as if he struggled. But Danks liked the focused work he did on some mechanical changes and feels he's getting closer to being ready for the regular season.

As for those who would strongly disagree with Danks' feel-good assessment Sunday, the veteran responded, "Let 'em."

"I mean, really, I get it. What was it eight runs? I get that, and it's totally fair, and we're all big leaguers, I would expect more," Danks said. "There were things I was working on. Certainly wasn't trying to give up eight runs.

"We had a bigger priority today. We got to take the revised mechanics out. We got to work on certain pitches and it was a good day. We accomplished what we hoped to accomplish and we're going to get on the mound again in a few days and continue to iron things out."

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Jackson talks his way into Cactus League play

Apparently Austin Jackson had enough of simulated games.

The newest White Sox outfielder talked manager Robin Ventura into putting him into Cactus League action on Sunday, and Jackson finished 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Jackson also made a nice catch on a line drive to center in the third.

"That was the next step, getting out there and putting it to the test," Jackson said. "It felt really good just to get back out there and get into the swing of things, be able to play in center field, get a couple of balls hit to me, track some pitches and see some live pitching. It was a good feeling."

Davidson making strides

Barring something unforeseen, Matt Davidson won't break camp with the team. But the 24-year-old third baseman has had a good camp, both offensively and defensively, a strong showing that can be attributed to mental and physical changes.

Davidson cleaned up his posture a little bit on the swing. But he also has learned from two rough seasons with Triple-A Charlotte, where he hit 43 combined homers but also struck out 355 times.

Davidson's solo home run

"I've learned a lot, too, struggling the past couple of years," Davidson said. "You can learn on both sides. You can learn from the positives and the negatives.

"Last year, I don't think mentally I was fully recovered from the year I had before and it definitely showed. But I'm in a lot better spot and enjoying baseball."

That enjoyment has been noticed by Ventura.

"He's just got a lot of confidence right now," said Ventura of Davidson, who is hitting .400 with two homers. "It's good for him to come in here with that. He feels pretty free with that, and it's showing, his positivity."

They said it

"I played through high school, and I've taken a lot worse than that." Jake Petricka, comparing old hockey injuries to the line drive he took off of his pitching shoulder Saturday in Mesa, Ariz.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.