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Danish finds silver lining in knee injury

MLB.com @scottmerkin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When right-hander Tyler Danish returns to the Major Leagues, he'll need to give Jake Peter an assist for spurring this comeback.

Danish and Peter were teammates at Triple-A Charlotte last season, when Peter delivered a walk-off single to upend Columbus and end the Knights' 10-game losing streak. Danish hurt his left knee in the celebration, an injury that led to season-ending surgery, a surgery that changed his career path in numerous ways.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When right-hander Tyler Danish returns to the Major Leagues, he'll need to give Jake Peter an assist for spurring this comeback.

Danish and Peter were teammates at Triple-A Charlotte last season, when Peter delivered a walk-off single to upend Columbus and end the Knights' 10-game losing streak. Danish hurt his left knee in the celebration, an injury that led to season-ending surgery, a surgery that changed his career path in numerous ways.

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"It mentally got me back," said Danish, currently the No. 21 White Sox prospect per MLBPipeline.com. "As a professional athlete, you do this every single day. Sometimes you take it for granted, where you might not work 100 percent every day because it's an everyday grind.

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"Being away from the game just really changed me mentally, workout-wise, in the offseason, focusing on the field. It's a bad thing to happen, but a good thing I learned from last year."

A second-round pick in the 2013 Draft after allowing no earned runs over 94 1/3 innings during his senior year at Durant High School in Plant City, Fla., Danish was considered a top White Sox prospect before this latest mass addition of young players via the rebuild. He made his Major League debut in 2016, posting a 10.80 ERA in three relief appearances.

Much like the injury and ensuing surgery changed Danish's focus, the brief big league struggles became a learning experience. He also doesn't mind being overshadowed at this point by the likes of Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, to name a few.

"You know, it's good for me maybe to take a little back seat, focus on myself and not have to deal with the doubters and the critics," he said. "That's going to happen no matter what. Now it's just me focusing on being who I am and not trying to be anyone else that some other people want me to be."

"He says he feels great," general manager Rick Hahn said. "He's a guy who has nice sink, is a good competitor, throws strikes."

Hahn thinks Danish could start as part of the Charlotte rotation but that he could also help the staff in a variety of roles. Danish, who has thrown two scoreless innings this spring, pitches again on Friday night in Peoria as he continues to build that confidence inadvertently restarted by Peter's celebratory single last July.

"Maybe we will be teammates one day and I can come over and say, 'Hey, man, thanks for that hit,'" Danish said. "This is a fun time, an exciting time. No matter what role I have, I want to be a part of this whole thing with all these guys that go together and learn from each other."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Tyler Danish