Jordan Danks has played in at least 100 games in each of his full seasons since leaving the University of Texas to join the White Sox organization. Barring something unforeseen, he won't come close to the century mark in 2012.
Since being called up from Charlotte about a month ago, Danks has appeared in 14 games, starting four of them. He's mostly been used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, but that's the life of a backup at the major-league level.
"It's a little bit different," Danks said. "You're basically kind of chilling for the first four or five innings of the game before you start getting ready. It's definitely different, but it's a role I'm definitely willing to play."
Not everyone can flip the switch from playing every day to riding the bench, not knowing when the next opportunity to play will be. To Danks' credit, he has a hit in every game he's started and has totaled eight in 22 trips to the plate this season.
"It's something I've never done," Danks said of his backup role. "But I'm making the best of it, getting ready sort of later in the games, never knowing when you get to go in, so it helps having the cage nearby so you can get in there and get a sweat going, making it feel like I did start the game."
Danks, 25, spent parts of four seasons in the White Sox farm system, going from someone with blue-chip billing to being unprotected by the organization in last year's Rule 5 Draft. Any team could've selected Danks and given him a chance to win a spot on their 25-man roster in spring training. No team did.
He got his break when Kosuke Fukudome went down with a ribcage injury in early June. The Sox placed Fukudome on the disabled list and added Danks to the 40 and 25-man rosters. With the incumbent backup on the shelf, Danks earned his way on to the roster, and the Sox cut Fukudome loose rather than send Danks back to the minors.
The ultimate goal for Danks is to start, just like everyone else occupying a spot on a minor-league roster or major-league bench. But for now, Danks is just happy to in the major leagues.
"Anything's better than being back down there," Danks said of the minors. "I'll stay up here, I'll wait my turn and that's pretty much all I can do."