Axelrod's focus helped earn rotation spot

Axelrod's focus helped earn rotation spot

March 27, 2013, 1:15 pm
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With John Danks’ readiness for the season uncertain Dylan Axelrod has known all along there was a chance this could happen.

But Axelrod, who has officially been named the White Sox fifth starter, wanted to avoid any looks at the big picture this spring. He made it his purpose to focus strictly on his work so he could get the best out of himself.

[MORE: Axelrod replaces Danks in rotation]

Axelrod said Wednesday he feels like he accomplished his goal and called making the White Sox rotation “a great feeling.”

The right-hander will pitch in Saturday’s exhibition in Milwaukee and is set to start on April 6 at home against the Seattle Mariners.

“I feel like I did a good job of (focusing),” Axelrod said. “I really just let it go. I just decided to do my best and however it turned out, it turned out. I think I was proud of myself for not looking into things. I did a good job of like just being me and not looking over my shoulder.”

A 30th round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2007, Axelrod has appeared in 18 major league games (10 starts), all with the White Sox. He went 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA last season but pitched particularly well in games at the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles even though he was shuttled back and forth between the minors.

[RELATED: Hahn believes Sox are capable of reaching postseason]

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Tuesday he intends to give Axelrod several starts to see what he can do rather than have him look over his shoulder and wonder when he might be pulled from the rotation. Axelrod -- who has a 3.21 spring ERA in 14 innings -- is in favor of Ventura’s plan.

“Yeah, that’s nice to hear,” Axelrod said. “I feel comfortable having a routine and having that assurance definitely helps, knowing that I’m going to start every fifth day or what have you. Not going back and forth between the starting rotation and bullpen, I think will benefit me with my routine.”