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Danks hopes to be a better pitcher after long layoff

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CHICAGO -- There were nothing but smiles coming from John Danks after his six-plus-inning, 76-pitch season debut for the White Sox in Friday night's extra-innings victory over the Marlins. Danks struck out five and didn't issue a walk, hitting as high as 91 mph with his fastball and showing off a strong changeup.

But Danks knows the pitcher he was Friday might be different than the pitcher he is in August and certainly will be different from the pitcher he will be in 2014. He continues to build up arm strength after season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery last Aug. 6.

"There will be some times where I have to adapt on that certain day, and yeah, I mean I'm ready for it," Danks said. "It's part of it. I'm just glad to be back and part of the team.

"I didn't feel like there was too much of a drop off last night. I feel like I was able to make the ball do what I wanted and the biggest key for me is throwing where I'm trying to throw it. Limit my mistakes and try to stay around the strike zone best I can."

In the almost eight-month rehab process for Danks, he was able to become an even greater student of the pitching craft.

"Just focusing on stuff I hadn't focused on before mechanically," Danks said. "There were times where if I did it wrong, it hurt. My shoulder let me know I was doing it wrong. I think in the long run, I probably grew through this process.

"It was a sorry process. I don't want to do it again. But there's definitely things I can take from it."

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.

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