This is my first year, but I'm not a rookie anymore. Not according to my coaches. I was talking with them in early June and they told me I'm not a rookie in their eyes anymore and they laid out what was expected of me. I welcome the challenge.
I started slow this year. I was throwing the ball well, but I couldn't get the wins. I've managed to get some wins recently and I like the feeling.
My focus has been on getting people out by putting the ball in play and not hurting myself with walks. I'm facing big-league hitters and I know they'll get their hits, one way or another. I just have to try and make them put it in play and keep it in the yard. If I do that, I have a decent shot. I try and throw it near the strike zone and get ahead early to put them in a hole.
To be successful, I need to be more consistent. Being a young guy, I'm not going to get the calls if I'm an inch or two off the plate. I have to take advantage of hitters' mistakes, like when I throw a 3-1 fastball and the hitter rolls over on it.
I came in this season as the fifth starter on a veteran staff, three of whom helped the team win the World Series in 2005. They made it an easy transition for me. I know in the back of my head that if I don't have my best stuff one day, they can pick up slack the next. I like that they overshadow me because I want to be under the radar.
Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland have been the most influential guys since I've been here. Every game, I talk to them about different situations. They talk to me about everything from what not to wear on the road to what I should be throwing in different situations.
I really haven't felt much pressure to match up to the other starters. Mostly, I'm just trying to keep my job.
John Danks, a 22-year-old left-hander, is 6-7 with a 4.88 ERA through his first 18 starts with the White Sox this season. The ninth overall pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, he was traded to the White Sox from the Rangers in a deal for starter Brandon McCarthy.
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