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Danks feels he's close to rejoining Sox rotation

Left-hander encouraged by last rehab outing, will start another on Tuesday

Special to

KANSAS CITY -- Health issues have led to questions about the White Sox starting rotation recently, but left-hander John Danks thinks he's about ready to help bolster the troops.

Danks, who has battled back from season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery last August, expressed encouragement on Thursday night after a rehab start at Double-A Birmingham, in which he threw 86 pitches over seven innings.

"I think I need just one or two more [rehab] starts," Danks said.

Danks is scheduled to start again on Tuesday for Triple-A Charlotte at Columbus. Danks was particularly pleased by the consistency of his cutter and was clocked as high as 91 mph on the radar gun.

With Jake Peavy having recently experienced back spasms and Gavin Floyd possibly facing surgery, Danks' return could be huge for the White Sox rotation.

"This whole time my focus has been on coming back, and not come back when I knew I wasn't ready," Danks said.

Danks will have a big fan in attendance for his next start. His younger sister, Emily, is a senior at Ohio State, so the Columbus appearance fits nicely.

"I think [general manager] Rick Hahn was taking care of me," Danks said.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to

Chicago White Sox, John Danks