Minor star Jordan Danks longs to hit big time
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter August 9, 2014 11:28PM
Alexei Ramirez hits an RBI double in the seventh inning that scored Jose Abreu and tied the game at 1. | John Froschauer/AP
Updated: September 11, 2014 6:57AM
SEATTLE — Jordan Danks, Class AAA Charlotte Knights record holder, accomplished more than he cared to in the minor leagues. It’s time, again, to try to prove he belongs in the bigs.
An injury to Adam Eaton will give Danks, who turned 28 this week, a more extended look than what he would’ve had as a September call-up.
“This is a little bit different,’’ said Danks, who came up April 10 after Avisail Garcia tore his labrum but went back down May 7 after going 4-for-41 at the plate. “I kind of had a rough patch at the plate. It was the first time I got sent down and I said it actually makes sense this time.
“I got down there and figured some things out and got back on the right track and hopefully can bring that back up here. I’m feeling good at the plate, and I’m healthy and ready to go.’’
Danks batted .276 with 16 home runs and 56 RBI in 88 games for Charlotte and broke Joe Borchard’s franchise hits record of 439.
“Those are the records you don’t really want,’’ Danks said. ‘‘You’ve been playing in the minors too long. But while you’re down there, you might as well set some milestones.
“My wife [Ashley] even said to me the other day, ‘I know you want to be in the big leagues, but I hope you’re proud of yourself. It really is a cool honor to be a record holder on any team.’ I am proud. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed my time, but I’m glad to be back.’’
From 2012 to ’14, Danks has hit .209 with the Sox with seven homers. Generally regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in the Sox’ system, Danks knows he has to hit to be more than a minor-league star. Danks pinch-hit for Moises Sierra in the 10th inning Saturday, and he’s expected to start in center behind his brother, lefty John Danks, on Sunday. Manager Robin Ventura said Danks will start most of the time against righties while Eaton is out.
“He’s had good spurts for us, good stretches that he should be able to play up here,’’ Ventura said. “Last time, he probably put too much pressure on himself. He has all the tools.’’
Jose Abreu’s double in the seventh inning was his 29th, giving him one more than Conor Gillaspie for the team lead. Abreu scored the tying run on Alexei Ramirez’s 24th double. With a major-league-high 31 homers, Abreu has a shot at becoming the first rookie to hit 40 homers and 40 doubles in a season.
Lou Piniella, who managed in Seattle from 1993 to 2002, was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame during an on-field ceremony before the game.
The winningest manager in franchise history, Piniella guided the 2001 team to a major-league-record-tying 116 wins.