GLENDALE, Ariz. — There was an actual baseball game on Friday afternoon and John Danks had his best start of the spring to date.
As is customary for that day’s starting pitcher, Danks arrived to Camelback Ranch late Friday, which meant he avoided all of the hullabaloo surrounding Adam LaRoche’s retirement.
Hours after Chris Sale spoke at length about Kenny Williams’ involvement in the LaRoche affair, Danks delivered five scoreless innings and struck out seven as the White Sox beat the Cubs 3-2.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
He allowed a hit, walked two and hit a batter.
“It is what it is and I guess guys are saying what they’re saying,” Danks said. “I haven’t read any of it. Nothing has changed as far as the common goal here from Kenny to Chris Sale to me to Jerry. The common goal is to win a championship, have a fun summer and that hasn’t changed.
“I wish I could answer your questions about this morning, but ummm, yeah, sounds interesting.”
Danks diverted his attention away from the chaos that has consumed the clubhouse this week to work again on the mechanical alterations he and pitching coach Don Cooper have installed. The left-hander said he also focused on tempo and arm side command as he baffled the Cubs for five frames.
“We’re putting it together,” Danks said. “I think today was closer to what we’ll be like (mechanically) during the summer. Last time out I was literally out of the stretch the whole time and just slide steppin’, stepping and going, and was able to get the feel of that and over the course of the last five days been able to put it all together. Today was the first time I really did that and it was fun. It was fun to go out there and throw it where I was trying to throw it and make them put the ball in play.”
The White Sox provided Danks and four relievers with just enough offense. Austin Jackson and Tim Anderson each hit sacrifice flies and Avisail Garcia singled in another run. David Robertson, Matt Albers and Nate Jones all pitched scoreless innings in relief. Jake Petricka allowed two unearned runs in his inning.
The White Sox also outrighted reliever Zach Phillips off the 40-man roster on Friday and assigned him to Triple-A Charlotte. Phillips declined the assignment and opted for free agency. The team also finalized the retirement of LaRoche. The two moves leave the 40-man roster at 37.