PHOENIX -- It's truly amazing John Danks was even standing at his locker following the White Sox 6-2 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field on Saturday, let alone joking about taking a Stephen Drew line drive flush off the back of his head.
"I'm good. I really am. I'm fine," said Danks, getting dressed and icing the injury after his eventful day, before going with White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider to have a precautionary CT scan for what is being called a contusion.
Danks referred to the knot on the left side of his head in more colorful terms, as he pointed out to the media where he was struck.
"I felt it. I'm not going to lie," Danks said. "But that's just my personality. I like to have a good time. I didn't think I was hurt by any means."
There also was a pretty good game thrown by Danks (3-8), as he won his third straight after eight losses and ended an 0-6 road run to start the 2011 season. But it's hard to get by what happened in the fourth inning.
With the White Sox leading by two runs and Willie Bloomquist on first, the left-handed-hitting Drew crushed a line drive back to the mound, striking Danks just above his glove and the back of his shoulder. Yet, Danks didn't crumple to the ground or stay in a dazed-and-motionless state after contact.
His first reaction was to jump up and look for the baseball. That's right, a shot to the head, and Danks was trying to make the play.
Unfortunately for the ultra-tough Texan, the ball had bounced out of play near the Arizona dugout for a ground-rule double. Somehow, Danks stayed in the game and worked seven innings for the victory, although he gave up two runs in the fourth after Drew's connection.
Manager Ozzie Guillen and Schneider immediately checked on Danks. Guillen praised home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild for giving Danks and the White Sox all the time they needed to go through on-field tests and make sure there was no head injury.
"That guy's pretty gutsy," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson of Danks. "I'm not sure how many people stay in the game after that. It looked like it hit him in the back of the head and one-hopped out of the stands. He pitched well, he wanted to stay in the game. He was actually smiling about it, so he's certainly a gamer in my book."
"You don't want that to happen to anybody, and your heart stops for a second," said Guillen of Danks, who fanned seven without issuing a walk. "But I knew he was fine because he never lost any consciousness. He was talking and bouncing around very well. He shows you the kind of guy we have."
Paul Konerko actually believed the ball hit Danks' glove and was sort of swept out of action when Danks tried to make the play. He was stunned to hear from Danks that the ball actually struck his head.
"Everyone on the bench knew it got him on the head," Konerko said. "You don't think a guy gets hit in the head and pops up looking to make a play."
In order to secure the win and preserve a one-run lead, Danks retired Henry Blanco via popup on a 3-2 changeup and struck out Micah Owings with a high fastball to strand runners on second and third in the seventh. Alex Rios' three-run homer in the eighth, his first long ball since May 21, helped put an end to the White Sox three-game losing streak.
Konerko did his part, as his homecoming continued to be a good one. The White Sox captain and Arizona resident singled in the second, singled home Brent Morel with two outs in the third and then hit a long solo home run with one out in the sixth off of Zach Duke to break a 2-2 tie. Konerko now has 18 home runs, giving him 383 for his career and 51 in Interleague Play, as well as 55 RBIs this year.
"That's normal," said Guillen with a smile of the effort from Konerko, who is hitting .327.
This victory held the White Sox (34-38) at 5 1/2 games behind the Indians in the American League Central. But an experienced veteran such as Konerko knows the White Sox better be celebrating win streaks consistently soon if they want to reach playoff caliber.
"We have to start making it click," said Konerko, who pointed to reaching .500 as the team's immediate goal. "It's starting to get deep into the season and we've got to make a move at some point. There's not a time where we've clicked on all cylinders, and every team at some point is going to click on all cylinders, even a bad team.
"At the same time, if you click on all cylinders when you are 10 or 12 back in August, that is not going to work. At some point we have to make a sustained run and put it all together and throw ourselves in the ring for the division.
"Right now, we are hanging around, and other teams have let us hang around, which is good, but it won't cut it at the end of the day," Konerko said. "We have to play like a good team all the way around for weeks on end. We haven't done that."
Having a healthy Danks will help the White Sox cause. Danks still has to reassure his mom, whom he had "100 text messages from" to make sure he was OK.
"Now, I'm getting texts saying, 'Way to use your head,'" said Danks with a laugh.