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John Danks’ first spring outing dirt-poor

Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks works out Wednesday February 29 2012 Spring Training camp Glendale Arizona. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks works out on Wednesday February 29, 2012 at Spring Training camp in Glendale, Arizona. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 10, 2012 11:03AM



TEMPE, Ariz. — The Opening Day starter’s honor is John Danks’ to lose. A couple more starts like his first one Tuesday, and he just might lose it. That’s him talking.

“I keep my fingers crossed, but two more like this, and I don’t think there will be any question,” Danks said after giving up three runs, four hits and three walks in the first two innings of the Sox’ 6-2 loss against the Los Angeles Angels.

Several of his pitches were in the dirt. Several that weren’t got hit hard and into gaps.

Danks wasn’t too concerned, though, about not having much command on March 6. He knows there’s plenty of time between now and April 6, when the Sox face the Rangers in Texas.

“My ball was doing what I wanted it to; it just wasn’t going where I wanted to throw it,’’ Danks said. “It’s the first one. I’ll be ready to go in five days or so.”

Danks, who signed a $65 million contract extension during the offseason, has not started on Opening Day. But Mark Buehrle is gone, and Danks is lined up to pitch the opener in his home state of Texas. He’s already turning down ticket requests. He looks like the guy.

“Right now he is,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s going to be that guy. We’ll move on from there, but I like him as that guy for right now. But I’m not making it official. It could schedule out that way. It is for now, but it’s not an official official.’’

“I’d love to,’’ Danks said. “It’s a huge honor.”

Moving on over

Pitching coach Don Cooper moved left-hander Hector Santiago from the third-base side of the rubber to the middle. Santiago said it took a few pitches during his scoreless inning Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers to feel comfortable.

“We did it to make my fastballs and sliders drive down into lefties and away to righties,’’ Santiago said. “It felt fine.’’

Santiago, who impressed in 51/3 innings in his brief time up from Class AA last season, said his screwball was really good.

“I feel like my chances are good; I hope my chances are good,’’ Santiago said.

A starter in the minor leagues, Santiago will start against the Rangers on Thursday. Gavin Floyd starts a B game Thursday.

No worries

Gordon Beckham had two sharp singles and a stolen base against the Angels after striking out and looking bad doing it the first day. That was frustrating, he said, but he said he was able to laugh it off.

“My swing feels so good in BP and the way my setup feels, it [was] just one of those days,’’ Beckham said.

“I was frustrated because you don’t want to look like that on the first day. I can kind of laugh at it now. I really do feel good.”



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