John Danks Injury: Chicago White Sox Taking Proper Caution with Their Ace

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIJune 6, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 03: John Danks #50 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Cleveland Indians on May 3, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

John Danks won't be back in the Chicago White Sox's rotation this week, according to the Chicago Tribune. By giving him a minor league rehab assignment and easing him back to his regular status, the White Sox are doing the right thing in order to protect their most expensive long-term pitching asset.

The White Sox are taking things at a slow pace with Danks, who last pitched in a game on May 19 before going on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain. Danks will have a bullpen session on Wednesday, and then the White Sox will give him a rehab start, assuming his arm fares well in the bullpen session.

Danks seems to be taking the extended DL stint well. When talking to reporters on Tuesday, he declined to hint at when he would return, showing an understanding that the coaching staff doesn't want to rush him.

"That's a good question. I don't know...hoping tomorrow goes well. Hoping to get out [on a rehab assignment] some time after that. And then I'm at the mercy of them handing me the ball from that point," Danks said.

The Round Rock, Texas native is showing the right attitude. He doesn't want to hurry himself and risk aggravating the injury.

Similarly, the White Sox recognize that they don't want him to come back too soon and turn the strain into something much worse. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the White Sox decided that they wanted Danks to be in good enough shape so that they'd know he'd be strong for the second half of the season.

The White Sox recognize the need to keep their most expensive long-term pitching asset healthy. Danks signed a five-year, $65 million contract in the offseason. They wouldn't want that investment to go sour less than a season after making the deal.

Further, the White Sox are demonstrating a better vision for handling Danks than they did with Chris Sale when he was injured. They went from putting Sale in the bullpen and suddenly changing him from being a top-end starter for the future to a closer, to having him undergo an MRI, to bringing him back to the rotation.

In this case, the White Sox showed that they knew what Danks meant to the team. They put him on the disabled list after seeing that he had suffered a strain and then decided to extend his time off the field when they saw that he didn't progress as much as he needed to.

Jose Quintana will start in his place. He has a 1.69 ERA in three starts.

A mishandling of Danks' situation, which could have seen him aggravate his injury, would have put a damper on the White Sox's current string of 11 wins of 14 games. Fortunately, Don Cooper and Robin Ventura are taking good care of Danks to keep him in shape for the future.