Danks to start Opening Day

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Danks to start Opening Day

John Danks will take the mound for the White Sox on Opening Day, Robin Ventura announced after Monday's 4-3 loss to Los Angeles. Danks threw seven innings against the Dodgers, striking out four with no walks while allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits.

It's been assumed Danks would get the Opening Day nod since he agreed to a five-year extension with the White Sox in December. Since joining the White Sox rotation in 2007, Danks has a 4.03 ERA with 714 strikeouts and 300 walks.

But Danks is coming off his worst season since his rookie year, posting a 4.33 ERA in 27 starts in 2011. From 2008-2010, Danks' ERA sat at 3.61 in 97 starts.

When Danks takes the hill in Texas, he'll become the 49th left-hander to earn an Opening Day start for the White Sox in the team's 112-year history. Mark Buehrle started every Opening Day but 2007 from 2002-2011, and before him, David Wells and Mike Sirotka started the season's first game this century.

So over the last 12 years, the Sox have had a lefty start Opening Day in 11 of them. Jose Contreras owns the distinction of being the lone righty to start Opening Day since the turn of the millennium.

Danks will start against the team that drafted him with the ninth overall pick in the 2003 MLB Draft. The deal that brought Danks to Chicago on Dec. 23, 2006 is regarded as one of the best made by GM Kenny Williams, as the Sox sent Brandon McCarthy and a minor-leaguer to Texas for Danks, Nick Masset and another minor leaguer.

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

GLENDALE, Ariz. — With Zack Burdi headed for the minors, the White Sox 12-man pitching staff is all but set.

The Opening Day roster won't be finalized until Sunday and the White Sox hypothetically could find an attractive candidate to claim off the waiver wire over the weekend. But barring that, it looks as if veteran Anthony Swarzak and second-year reliever Michael Ynoa have made the team after Burdi said Wednesday morning that he'd start the season at Triple-A Charlotte. 

The No. 7 prospect in the organization, according to MLBPipeline.com, Burdi finished the spring with a 6.75 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 12 innings. Burdi finished his Cactus League on a high note with three strikeouts over an inning on Tuesday, including one of Kansas City four-time All-Star catcher Salvador Perez. 

"Man, it's been crazy," Burdi said. "Coming in and being the young guy in the locker room and then just progressing and showing a little bit more (comfort) around the guys and the veterans and then just being able to pick their brains and go out every day and try to progress. You get to the innings and you are facing guys you've watched your last 10 years of your life. It has been crazy and definitely something I won't forget."

Burdi lasted the longest this spring out of the cache of highly-touted prospects the White Sox brought to big league camp. Prior to escaping a first-and-third, one-out jam Tuesday, Burdi looked like he would allow a run in a third straight game after a hot start to camp (he only allowed a run in one of his first 10 appearances). But Burdi battled back and struck out Perez on three pitches, one of two straight strikeouts to strand both runners.

Pitching coach Don Cooper has been impressed by Burdi throughout the spring. But he also wants to see the Louisville product continue to work on command in the minors.

"You can't not see his stuff," Cooper said. "Everybody gets excited when you see 99, 100, 101. But whether you throw it 101 or 83 like [Mark] Buehrle you have to throw it to the glove with command, change speeds and all that stuff. But he's a big part of our future going forward. He's one of the names."

Burdi said he plans to operate like he has already spring and not pay attention to any of the hype. Though he'd like to play in the majors, Burdi is excited to play alongside the likes of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer in Charlotte.

"Once you get a feel for all this stuff and you feel how cool it is to be in the locker room with all these guys and play with them, of course you want to get back up here," Burdi said. "But at the same time, a lot of my really good friends are on Charlotte and I couldn't be more excited to go down there and play with them and make the most of the season down there."

Live on CSN: White Sox square off against Padres

Live on CSN: White Sox square off against Padres

Follow pitch-by-pitch during Wednesday's White Sox-Padres game on CSN with In-Game Live.

The White Sox are back in action in spring training as they square off against the San Diego Padres on CSN.

Probable starters: Jhoulys Chacin vs. Dylan Covey

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