GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The expectation, or at least the hope, at the start of Spring Training was that John Danks would break camp as part of the White Sox starting rotation. That hope held true despite Danks coming off of Aug. 6 season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
Even with Danks as the preferred candidate, Dylan Axelrod never allowed himself to think about roster permutation as he worked hard over the six weeks in Arizona. And with Danks starting on the disabled list to build up velocity and command, Axelrod will get the opportunity he's long desired as the fifth man in the rotation.
Manager Robin Ventura made the news official after Tuesday's contest.
"It's a great feeling," Axelrod said. "I've been working toward this for a long time. It's been a dream of mine to be a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. So I'm getting a great opportunity obviously. I'm going to try to run with it.
"I really just let it go. I just decided to do my best and however it turned out, it turned out. I was proud of myself for not looking into things. I did a good job of just being me and not looking over my shoulder."
Axelrod will start April 6 against the Mariners and believes his pitch count can get up toward 90 or 100. He'll throw around 90 when he takes the mound Saturday in Milwaukee during an exhibition game.
Ventura stressed that Axelrod is not a one- or two-start experiment. He will get a chance to prove himself with Danks gone, a fact Axelrod appreciates.
"That's nice to hear," said Axelrod, who has made 10 starts among his 18 Major League appearances but was in Independent baseball as recently as 2009. "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 will benefit me with my routine."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.