Danks brothers want to be part of White Sox success
Duo have joked about facing each other, but would rather remain in Chicago together
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- John Danks has 61 career victories entering the 2014 season.
Jordan Danks has 52 career hits.
Add those two numbers together, and it seemingly produces the number of Danks brothers stories written or broadcast since Jordan joined the organization in 2008.
"It's funny, [Blake] Tekotte and I were just talking about it, and he said, 'If they ask you again, tell them it was awful,'" said Jordan with a broad smile, leading to a laugh. "Tell them John always called the top bunk, and he never makes his bed. I always have to do the dishes."
Clearly the Danks brothers have had fun over the years talking about what really has been a blessing for an extremely close family. But let's take a new angle on this frequently told story, one that seems to be slightly more realistic than previous years due to the current status of John and Jordan.
What if there comes a time in the near future where the two brothers have to go against each other? Not go against each other as in live batting practice or an Intrasquad game, but for opposing teams.
John stands in the third season of a five-year, $65 million extension and is considered a key cog for 2014 success on the South Side. There has been nothing but good reports through the first half of Spring Training regarding the southpaw, who tossed five scoreless innings against his original team from Texas on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch.
Then there's the 27-year-old Jordan, who looks as comfortable as he ever has at the plate. Work with the glove never was an issue for one of the White Sox top defensive outfielders, but his offensive development started with an increase in big league at-bats during the team's dismal '13 campaign and Jordan freeze-framing the feeling he had at the plate to bring into '14.
"The more you play at that level, the more your confidence builds," said Jordan, who has two homers and five RBIs in Cactus League action. "At the end of the season, I took a mental note because I was feeling pretty good, and just said kind of remember what this feels like so I can bring it back into spring and put it back to good use. I'm just feeling good as a player right now."
"He has come a long way, and I think he could definitely play a vital role in a winning team here in Chicago," said John. "He has worked hard. I've witnessed it. He's starting to see some of the fruits of his labor a little bit. He's doing well and I'm proud of him."
If John ranks as such a crucial component to overall White Sox excellence and Jordan is improving, then why would they be split up? A rejuvenated 28-year-old John, moving toward two years removed from 2012 season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery, could become an interesting trade chip if the White Sox are deemed non-contenders in '14.
Adding Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia since late last July has temporarily squeezed Jordan into the fifth outfielder slot. He could move up if either Dayan Viciedo or Alejandro De Aza are moved, but if not, the White Sox always have been a team to give a player opportunities somewhere else if he's blocked.
Whether Jordan becomes an everyday player has yet to be decided, but the early reports point in that direction.
"You are looking at a guy who has gotten better the two years he has been up here," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He has that potential. He's much better this spring then he was the last couple of springs."
That hypothetical matchup between John and Jordan, who both have wives named Ashley, actually has taken place countless times during offseason preparation in Texas. Jordan jokes about having to call his bat supplier after Mark Buehrle taught his brother the cutter, because John was shattering them pretty consistently during family workouts.
Those shattered bats were not by accident, according to John.
"Yeah, I was always trying to break his bats. You have to. He's a younger player. You have to keep him in place a little bit," John said with a wry smile. "I can't beat him up. He's bigger than me now. I had to do whatever I could to make sure I'm the older brother."
"I did have that advantage to face one of the best lefties in the game and get ready. That's kind of why I hit lefties real well," Jordan said. "I had a little bit more of an advantage than some other guys."
There are a few points John and Jordan agree upon if they were ever to face each other in the big leagues.
Point 1: Their brotherly love would be temporarily toppled by the desire to succeed. As John pointed out, they both have plenty of good friends in the game who they still want to beat every time.
Point 2: Renee Danks, their loving mother, would not exactly love the situation.
"My mom would be a wreck," John said.
Here's the most important factor to remember about this affable duo. John and Jordan hope a few of their future Danks brothers stories deal with winning a World Series title for the White Sox.
"Obviously, we've enjoyed playing together and continue to," John said. "We've joked about [going against each other], but I've never thought about not being a White Sox player. And whenever I think about [being part of the White Sox], I think about Jordan in the clubhouse with me."