John Danks will more than likely start the season on the DL. When he returns, chances are he will not be the same pitcher he was. I'm going to play the role of Resident Conservative and say that he should not start until June at the earliest, and if the White Sox are not in contention, the team should really think about shutting him down for the entire year.
Danks is currently in the second year of the five-year contract extension he signed in December of 2011. He is a five-year investment. I would feel safer about punting on one of those years if that increased the odds of him producing in the remaining three.
We've been through this song and dance before. Jake Peavy was throwing in spring training 2011, nine months after his lat muscle was surgically re-attached to the bone (the description of Peavy's injury in 2010 turned me off of ribs for a couple of months). He was rushed back to the Majors for two reasons:
- Jake Peavy is a bulldog and you can't keep a bulldog on a leash.
- He was costing the White Sox a pretty penny, and Ozzie Guillen had a tendency to make decisions based on the number of zeroes in a player's contract.
For awhile, it looked like Peavy was going to make a full recovery. He pitched well in his first outing in Anaheim. He threw a complete game in his second outing. The whole thing came crashing down on June 25, 2011, when Peavy pitched long relief on short rest. Danks hurt his arm in the third inning of a game against Washington. Brian Bruney pitched just long enough for Peavy to get warm. He won the game, but he lost the season. He never pitched the same , and he was shut down in September.
Robin Ventura does not share Guillen's penchant for being dazzled by dollar signs, so I do not believe financial considerations will factor into Danks' recovery. As Jim wrote yesterday, the Sox could probably get away with using Hector Santiago or Dylan Axelrod for the forseeable future.
In other words, take your time, Johnny Danks.
Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone are back together, and by all accounts, they love each other like a couple of teenagers. There was a happy good-time vibe emanating from the booth during last Friday's game against the Cubs.
Now, a word of caution: I'm writing this piece on Friday afternoon on board a United flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C. This is scheduled to publish on Saturday morning. They could have a major on-air blowup on Friday night.
Even so, I don't want to hear anymore about the chemistry between Hawk and Stone. Ozzie Guillen used to say that "horse-(bleep) teams have meetings." If we're talking about the working relationship between the television broadcasters during the season, the White Sox are in big trouble.
When the team is winning, everything is great. The entire organization will credit "great chemistry" for their success. When everything is falling apart, there is dissention in the ranks. Think back to the great dramas of recent history. When did we hear about the fight between Ozzie and Kenny Williams? During the nose-dive at the end of 2010. When did Ozzie Guillen and sons start agitating for a new contract? After the 2011 team crashed and burned. When did we start hearing about the personal issues between Hawk and Stone? During the fade of 2012.
The tension between the two was inevitable. Both men have definite ideas about the game of baseball, and both men achieved success independent of each other. Hawk has been in the booth every year (save one) since 1975. Steve Stone made his name as the smart ying to Harry Caray's freewheeling yang. Steve would bring the baseball smarts while Harry ogled the ladies in the stands.
Hawk has also admitted that he can be a handful. He and Don Drysdale almost got into physical fights on several occasions. Hawk said that he turned down an opportunity to appear on ABC's "Monday Night Baseball" by telling Howard Cosell that "he didn't know what he was talking about."
Basically, both guys have big egos. They've earned ‘em. Good baseball will cure all bad feelings.
I know I am in the pro-Hawk camp. But I also understand why people don't like him. But remember this, he's leaving on his own terms. Jerry Reinsdorf is exceedingly loyal, and he's not going to fire Hawk after his decades of service to the White Sox. Hawk is in the booth as long as his health allows. Besides, the longer Hawk remains in the booth, the more time A.J. Pierzynski will have to practice being his successor.
This is speculation on my part, but it does make sense. A.J. will forever be a World Series hero. He has been surprisingly good as a studio analyst for Fox. Hawk was one of his neighbors growing up in Orlando, Florida. The White Sox haven't hired a non-jock broadcaster since John Rooney departed in 2006.
It's too perfect.