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Danks to aim for easier innings

Danks to aim for easier innings

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CHICAGO -- One of John Danks' primary goals at the start of each of the last two seasons was to work at least 200 innings as part of the White Sox rotation. He just missed during his breakout 2008 effort at 195.

Exiting after 5 1/3 innings, as Danks did Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, won't exactly help the southpaw reach that total. But there's a more important factor for Danks in each of his last three starts than the 17 combined innings he tossed.

The White Sox have won in each of those three Danks trips to the mound.

"That's the bottom line -- we are winning," Danks said. "Personally, I could be sharper and stay in the game longer and all that. But as long as we are winning, everyone is happy and I can go from there."

In his May 25 start at Anaheim, Danks walked a career-high six over six innings. The left-hander said there were a few minor flaws, mechanics-wise, he corrected with pitching coach Don Cooper, and he made his sole focus of throwing strikes in his start Sunday against the Royals.

"They weren't quite all quality strikes," Danks said. "But I made them put the ball in play and gave us a chance to win against [Zack] Greinke."

Retiring the leadoff hitter is another issue Danks hopes to address in his start Friday against the Indians. Against the Angels and Royals, 10 of 12 leadoff men reached base against him. Yet, Danks has battled through some inconsistencies and given the White Sox a fighting chance.

"At the same time, I want to be sharper and have easier innings," said Danks, who has just two perfect innings over his last two starts. "Instead of two guys on, I would like to have some three-up, three-down innings. And that starts with retiring the leadoff hitter, for sure."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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