ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -John Danks finally gets to start a game in Texas - for the Chicago White Sox against the team that drafted him in the first round four years ago.
The 22-year-old left-hander and Texas native was the Rangers' top pitching prospect when they traded the left-hander for Brandon McCarthy last winter, two days before Christmas.
``Baseball is a business. I was preparing to be a Ranger. It would have been nice to play in front of hometown fans,'' Danks said Wednesday from the visitor's clubhouse. ``Being with the White Sox has been a good opportunity. I don't know if the Rangers would have had me in the rotation.''
Danks (6-12, 5.51 ERA) is the scheduled starter Thursday night in the finale of the three-game series. He will face Kevin Millwood (8-11), the Rangers' No. 1 starter. Danks got 25-30 tickets for family and friends coming from his hometown of Round Rock, only about a three-hour drive.
``Well, don't embarrass your family. That's all I can say,'' manager Ozzie Guillen quipped. ``Go out and make them proud, and make sure they see you more than two innings. Because they pay a lot of money to watch the game. They expect to see you a little longer than two innings.''
Danks has lost his last six decisions (over seven starts) with a 7.39 ERA in 35 1-3 innings over that span.
``I think what I've learned will translate to a better year next year,'' Danks said. ``I need to go out and pitch better than I have of late. I want to get to where I'm pretty much a lock in the rotation for next year, so I feel like the last month will be important for me.''
At least Danks is pitching.
McCarthy (5-8, 4.79), a 24-year-old right-hander, is on the disabled list for the second time this season with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade. He played catch Tuesday, though the Rangers aren't rushing him back.
``I'm not going to say who made the best trade because both teams are in last place. So who cares about the trade?'' Guillen said.
``I've seen him pitch on TV. I'm not interested in Danks except for him throwing pitches in the wrong spot so we can beat him,'' first-year Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ``I know he's a good pitcher, but he's the enemy now.''
When Danks got to spring training with the White Sox, he won the final spot in the rotation. The Rangers hadn't anticipated him being one of their starters, at least not early in the season.
While Danks and McCarthy will inevitably always be compared since they were traded for each other, Danks doesn't feel there is such a competition.
``Not at all,'' Danks said. ``I couldn't hardly tell you what he's done.''
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