The White Sox will get a major piece of their rotation back on Friday night, when John Danks takes the ball for the opener of a three-game Interleague series against the Marlins at U.S. Cellular Field.
The start comes just more than a year after the left-hander threw his last Major League pitch. Placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 25, 2012, his season ended with arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder, and he has spent the '13 campaign building arm strength after his velocity lagged during Spring Training.
"I feel like I'm close to getting where my stuff was before I got hurt, so stuff-wise there won't be too much of a drop-off," Danks said on Tuesday. "My biggest thing is throwing the ball where I want to and making it do what I want it to do."
Danks made four rehab stats, including three at Triple-A Charlotte. He posted a 3.18 ERA in those outings, despite walking 13 and striking out 15 in 22 2/3 innings.
The 28-year-old lefty, who notched a 3.77 ERA across 124 starts from 2008-11, will try to lead the the White Sox to their seventh win in 10 games after the team lost to the Red Sox on Wednesday night. He'll face a Miami club that has dropped two straight and nine of 11.
The Marlins will counter with righty Tom Koehler, who has put together consecutive promising starts since joining the rotation on May 12, although he does not have a win to show for it. The 26-year-old has given up a total of three runs, including one in six innings against the D-backs on Saturday, when he struck out seven.
Koehler, whose first six appearances came in relief, said starting is more methodical than pitching out of the bullpen.
"When you're starting, you have a little bit more opportunity to set guys up," Koehler said. "You're not doing that in the 'pen. You're coming out, you're trying to get them out as quick as possible."
The Marlins' offense has held Koehler back, scoring three total runs in his starts, including none while he has been in the game. But manager Mike Redmond is happy with Koehler's progress since Spring Training.
"I like the way he's acted on the mound," Redmond said. "I like his demeanor. I like the way he competes. He's getting an opportunity to go out there and start some games, and he's done a nice job. He's been impressive."
Marlins: Ozuna starting strong
• Right fielder Marcell Ozuna, who went 1-for-4 against the Phillies' Cliff Lee on Wednesday, entered the day leading all rookies with 22 hits, six doubles and nine RBIs in May, after making his Major League debut on April 30. He ranked second among rookies with eight extra-base hits and 33 total bases this month.
Ozuna's hit on Wednesday gave him an eight-game hitting streak. He has a batting line of .304/.337/.443 for the season.
• Catcher Rob Brantly is 17-for-53 (.321) since April 21, raising his average from .170 to .250. He ranks second on the team with seven doubles and third with 11 RBIs.
White Sox: Strong at the end
• The back end of Chicago's bullpen has been clicking of late. On Tuesday, Jesse Crain entered a bases-loaded jam with one out and notched consecutive strikeouts to run his scoreless streak to 17 2/3 innings. Addison Reed then nailed down his 16th save in 17 tries.
"It's always evolving," manager Robin Ventura said of his bullpen usage. "I think even [Tuesday] night, using Jesse in the seventh, which we haven't done much of. You realize each game is a little bit different if guys are available.
"Every day is different of how you use guys depending on who's available, so that's always evolving, moving around by how guys do and how they're feeling. It's more by feel."
• The Marlins are 5-4 all-time against the White Sox. The teams last met in 2010 in Chicago.
• The Marlins have used 36 players this season, tied with the Dodgers for most in the Majors. Jordan Brown became the latest to join Miami on Tuesday.