Chicago White Sox: John Danks Is Forcing the Sox's Hand

Matthew SmithCorrespondent IIIJuly 12, 2012

Danks throwing in his last start vs. the Chicago Cubs.
Danks throwing in his last start vs. the Chicago Cubs.David Banks/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox rotation is beginning to become a concern as the race to a division title heats up.

Most worrisome is the condition of lefty John Danks' injured shoulder, which is not showing any signs of improvement.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, pitching coach Don Cooper said Thursday morning on WSCR’s “The Mully and Hanley Show” that Danks “is not feeling so hot,” and is at best “two-to-three weeks” away from a return to the White Sox starting rotation. 

Not one to mince words, he went on to say that while having the utmost respect for Danks, his focus is strictly on the pitchers in Chicago.

Nearly two months after his last start and Danks still does not warrant the attention of the big league pitching coach. That is not a good sign for White Sox general manager Kenny Williams.

The White Sox need Danks, who has not pitched in a big league game since May 19 due to a left shoulder injury, to make a full recovery if they intend on winning the AL Central.

While his stats, 3-4 with an ERA of 5.70, are unimpressive to say the least, if this injury drags out any longer, the Sox may need to look at adding two starters prior to the trade deadline.

The Tribune’s MLB guru, Phil Rogers, wrote on Wednesday that “Cole Hamels, Zach Greinke, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster are among the pitchers who are expected to be traded by July 31.”

Danks' status may force the Sox into acquiring one of those big names and perhaps a second-tier guy like Kevin Millwood before the deadline.

That would be a hit to the minor league system and may require parting ways with one or more of the rookies in the bullpen. Not good.

The back-end of the rotation needs to be shored up since Dylan Axelrod blew his chance with two straight outings that were less than impressive. 

Philip Humber is on pace to return from a minor league rehabilitation stint on Tuesday in Boston, but has underperformed since his perfect game back in April.  

Gavin Floyd is a tale of two pitchers who may have the most value in a potential trade.

The Sox are quickly watching one of their strengths turn into a weakness and now, more than ever, they need Danks to play stopper. Otherwise, Kenny is going to be forced to make another blockbuster trade.