GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox starting pitching rotation lists Dylan Axelrod as the team's first hurler for Sunday's game against the Royals. Axelrod takes the spot of John Danks, who will begin the 2013 season on the disabled list as he works his way back from Aug. 6 arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
But the 27-year-old right-hander, who was out of organized baseball as recently as 2009, takes absolutely nothing for granted.
"I'm going to keep doing my work and if it turns out that way, then I'll prepare to do my best in that role," Axelrod said. "You get an opportunity, and there's no telling what can come from that.
"I'll prepare like I'd be there all season. I'm not going to look into things. I'm just going to prepare every day for my job."
Axelrod would pitch through at least a couple of rotation turns at the big league level, and that stint could extend to a month as Danks builds arm strength and tries to gain velocity. Axelrod has thrown 66 pitches as a high-water mark this spring and won't be counted on for complete-game efforts out of the No. 5 slot.
He will be given a chance to prove his value.
"We would have liked to have John ready and able to go, but we need to progress according to the time frame that his arm is on and hopefully that's not too many rehab starts or starts away from Chicago," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "Until that time, we are comfortable with the alternatives we got here, whether it's Dylan or [Hector] Santiago or some of the other options."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.