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Danks can't wait to make season debut

CHICAGO -- At least three days stand between John Danks and his first 2014 regular-season start, depending in part on the weather in Chicago on Thursday.

With the cutter back in his arsenal and greater arm strength 20 months removed from season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery in August 2012, Danks can't wait to take the baseball. The highly competitive veteran also will be facing Kansas City with a definite feeling of something to prove, even in his eighth Major League season.

"Of course I do," Danks said of having the sense of something to prove. "There were a lot of expectations from people here, fans, media. But none more than what I have on myself, and I've fallen way short the last couple of years.

"I'd be the first to admit that. It has not been easy. It has not been fun. I certainly feel like I have plenty of time to make up for that and to get back to where I know I can be."

Danks, who turns 29 on April 15, could emerge as one of the most important components in the White Sox reshaping program. Adding a pitcher who looks something like the 2008-10 version of Danks, with an ERA in the 3.50-3.75 range and around 200 innings pitched, makes an already solid starting rotation even stronger.

The interesting part for Danks, who is in Year 3 of a five-year, $65 million extension, is that he will help with the current youth movement but might not be around to see the ultimate fruition of this organization-wide makeover. A talented and healthy starter is always attractive to contenders, but Danks isn't worried about such a scenario.

In fact, he hopes that contender is on the South Side of Chicago this season.

"I signed here for five years. I plan on being here for five years, but I have no control over what happens," Danks said. "If something happens, I'll shake everyone's hand and thank them for giving me the opportunity for being here. As of right now, I'm here with the White Sox and plan on being here for another three years.

"Certainly, I took my lumps last year and the year before. You know, put in a lot of work, had a lot of people help me out and I'm ready to go and get back to where I know I need to be and can be."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
Read More: Chicago White Sox, John Danks