For some White Sox fans, Jordan Danks
is best known as the younger brother of Chicago left-hander John Danks.
Some White Sox fans know that the younger Danks also ranks among the organization's better outfield prospects.
Knowing his older brother is in the big leagues -- and that the two could be teammates -- gives Jordan Danks a goal.
"We've played together since childhood, from Little League until high school," the younger Danks said. "I use it as motivation to get up there. To be teammates in the Major Leagues would be a lot of fun."
The 24-year-old Danks is in his second season with Chicago's Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte. Last year, just his second full season of pro ball, he batted .245 with eight homers and 42 RBI in 119 games.
Danks got off to a slow start this year, batting .203 in April. But he used a .316 spurt in his first six games this month to raise his average to .229. More importantly, he already has five homers and 17 RBIs in 26 games.
"My first two years, I was working on consistency," Danks said. "There have been times where things are going good, but when it goes bad, it lasts a little too long.
"It's been a roller coaster, and I'm trying to find a happy medium at the plate."
Knights skipper Joe McEwing also managed Danks at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem in 2009, when he hit .322. He's been impressed with the early-season adjustments Danks has made.
"He struggled a little last year, his first year in Triple-A. Making the adjustments to Triple-A is tough," McEwing said. "Seeing the changes in his approach, I think he's athletic enough to make the adjustments and continue to get better."
Scouts suggest that Danks' outfield defense already is Major League-caliber. Danks said he tries to keep any struggles he has at the plate from affecting his play in center field.
"Being in the outfield, I feel I have that down," he said. "It's all about reading the ball off the bat. I feel I can put some of that aside to focus on the offensive side of the game. And if I can get that down, the two will go hand-in-hand."
Danks said he knows he needs to continue to show progress offensively to give himself a shot at a promotion -- and a reunion with his brother, who is 16 months older.
"I knew, being a non-roster guy, that my chances of making the team [in Spring Training] weren't good," he admitted. "But I always had in the back of my mind that if I could put together a good spring, I could make the decision harder on them.
"You never know what will happen, which is why getting better every day is important."
There's another advantage to having a sibling in the same organization.
"My parents are thrilled about it because they don't ever have to worry about me facing him," Danks said. "I think my mom would have a heart attack if we did."
All shook up: Indianapolis outfielder Alex Presley hit a solid .333 with three homers, 12 RBIs and 13 runs scored in 24 games in April. But he's gotten even hotter in May, with 13 hits -- including a double, triple and homer that have produced four RBIs -- in his first 24 at-bats. Presley begins the week ranked fourth in the IL in batting (.377).
Luna eclipse: Veteran infielder Hector Luna came off the disabled list April 23 and started hitting right away. He had hits in each of his first nine games, batting .474 with four homers and 12 RBIs. But he begins this week without a hit in his last 13 at-bats, dropping his average to .353.
Different day, same result: Toledo pitcher Charlie Furbush went 0-2 last week, but his two starts were very different. On May 2, the lefty was pummeled by Pawtucket, allowing seven runs on four hits and three walks over 1 2/3 innings. Furbush bounced back on Saturday against Charlotte, giving up just one hit and issuing two walks over eight strong innings. He also fanned eight. The problem in that contest? The Mud Hens were shut out.
He said it: "I wasn't trying to homer. I saw the defensive alignment and they gave me room down the right-field line." -- Rochester's Steve Singleton to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. He hit the ball toward right field -- and over the fence -- for a game-winning three-run jack in the Red Wings' 7-5 victory over Gwinnett on Friday. Singleton also hit a solo homer in the eighth, giving him two in just his second game with the club.