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After Chapman's injury, Danks shares similar story

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- John Danks never saw the Stephen Drew line drive that hit him squarely in the back of the head during a game against Arizona on June 18, 2011.

Danks was struck in the fourth inning but stayed in to pitch seven, joking that he had a record well under .500 at the time, the White Sox were winning and he wasn't going anywhere. The left-handed hurler, who worked five innings during Friday's 7-0 loss to the Cubs, also realizes that his line-drive encounter wasn't as bad as the Salvador Perez shot Reds closer Aroldis Chapman took to the face Wednesday night during Cactus League action.

But he also believes it's a sometimes unavoidable hazard of the game for pitchers.

"It's unfortunate and we wish him well," Danks said of Chapman. "I was lucky to not catch it in the front of my face. It's hard to watch certainly, but I think it's part of it. We just have to do a better job of protecting ourselves."

With Chapman throwing close to 100 mph, the ball came back at him with even greater force. Danks mentioned with a smile that he didn't have that same issue in his situation, not throwing nearly as hard.

"I had plenty of time to get out of the way of mine," Danks said. "It's part of it and it's unfortunate it happens. I'm sure Salvador Perez feels awful and certainly wasn't trying to hit him."

In his next start after being struck, Danks said that he was pitching like a slow-pitch softball hurler in that he was throwing the ball and backing up as he was letting go. But Danks worked through the moment of lingering fear.

"You just have to get through it," Danks said. "His is way worse than what mine was. So it's easier said than done. It's a tough deal."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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