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MIA@CWS: Danks returns to mound with six-plus frames

John Danks' velocity is down, and he knows it.

It's an adjustment he's had to deal with since arthroscopic surgery cut his season short last May. The pickup on his fastball wasn't where it needed to be during Spring Training, so the team had him start the season on the disabled list to build up arm strength.

The zip still isn't where it used to be, but Danks is back in the White Sox starting rotation and will start in Monday's series opener against the Mariners at Safeco Field. It'll be a telling start for Danks, who has shied away from throwing his fastball and cutter and has relied more on his changeup and sinker.

"I think there's some part of his game that he's going to have to change coming back from the injury he's had," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's still going to have to throw his changeup and cutter to get people out. It becomes more of a comfort thing."

The White Sox could use a strong outing from Danks after they dropped the first three games of their six-game West Coast trip over the weekend and have now lost a season high six straight games. Ventura said his team has to keep its energy charged if its going to turn around its fortunes.

"Any time you lose, you feel like energy is part of it," Ventura said. "It can zap you when you go through stretches like this. You have to find a way to get it. Winning, there seems to always be energy in winning. You have to have it even if you go through a tough stretch, too."

The White Sox will face Mariners starter Joe Saunders on Monday. He's felt right at home pitching within the confines of Safeco Field this season, going 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA at the park. Away from home, he's 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in six road starts, but he took a huge step toward ending those problems on Wednesday, when he threw seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits in San Diego.

"I just needed a little kick in the butt, really," Saunders said. "I just said, 'Hey, you know you're better than this.' The other games on the road this year haven't been good. In my mind, they were fluky, but hey, you can't make flukes into progressional games. You've got to put up or shut up, really. I just had to go out and get the job done."

Danks will need to find a way to do the same. He pitched well against the lowly Marlins in his first start of the season on May 24, but was knocked out of his last start against the Cubs after allowing four runs (three earned) in four innings.

Danks isn't trying to pitch differently. He's still not the same pitcher he was before the injury, but he said he's starting to find more consistency with his pitches.

"The fastball isn't quite where it was," Danks said. "It's plenty, but it's not quite where it was. I anticipate that getting better. The more velocity I get, the better it makes my changeup and cutter."

Mariners: Wilhelmsen given a rest
After allowing three earned runs and blowing the save in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Twins on Saturday, Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen received the day off on Sunday. He's blown three of his last four save opportunities but will return to the role on Monday.

"He put a lot of energy into that game [Saturday]," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said on Sunday. "This is a good day to give him off."

Wilhelmsen is 12-for-15 on save opportunities this season and has only allowed one hit in 35 at-bats to right-handed batters.

White Sox: Wise moved to disabled list
White Sox backup outfielder Dewayne Wise was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a strained right hamstring. He was hitting .234 with a home run and three RBIs in 30 games this season.

"It's been something that's kind of been there for a while," Ventura said. "Initially, it was the Miami game [May 25] when he scored from second, and he just really hasn't been able to go out. Tried to get him in another time and it wasn't there. He was talking about it snapping if he went out there."

Jordan Danks, younger brother of John Danks, was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to serve as a back-up outfielder in Wise's place. This is the first time John and Jordan have been on an active Major League roster together in their career.

Worth noting
• Chris Sale's scoreless streak ended at 28 innings on Sunday. Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning of the White Sox's 2-0 loss to give Sale his first earned run since May 6.

• White Sox second baseman Jeff Keppinger is 17-for-44 (.386) with a home run, four runs and four RBIs in his last 13 games.

• Seattle relievers have stranded 60 of 70 inherited runners this season to lead the American League. Comments