CHICAGO -- During the fourth inning of a White Sox game played at Chase Field on June 18, John Danks took a Stephen Drew line drive off the side of his head and the force of the shot carried the ball from the mound to near the D-backs dugout on the fly.
Danks stayed in the game with a protruding knot and finished off his third straight victory.
The left-hander was not quite as lucky with a strained right oblique muscle, aggravated during his Saturday start against the Nationals. Prior to Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Nationals at U.S. Cellular Field, Danks was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Little doubt existed that Danks would miss his next start on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. So, the move to place him on the disabled list made sense in order to give the White Sox another arm in the bullpen.
"It was easy this morning," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of making the call on Danks. "The doctor made the decision that he can't pitch and we made the decision we would call some kid up here. Hopefully when he comes back, he comes back strong."
"I didn't think I would be able to make my next start," Danks said. "There's no sense in me taking up a roster spot, especially with how kind of beat up the bullpen and everyone is. I agree with it 100 percent."
In a meeting with the media about one hour before this decision officially was announced, the 26-year-old southpaw said he felt much better than he did when departing after five outs on Saturday. An MRI will be taken of Danks' injured area on Monday to gain further understanding of the severity of the problem.
"You know everything I've heard, it isn't real severe," Danks said. "We'll know a lot more tomorrow. Just the initial, from all the tests and how I'm feeling, I don't think they think it's anything that's real bad, I guess.
"I'm going to work hard and try to get back as soon as possible. I hate having to miss a start if I don't have to, but it's worth missing a start to not miss the rest of the season. We are going to be smart with it."
Smart translated into the White Sox placing Danks on the DL.
After starting the 2011 season 0-8, Danks had a 3-0 record and 1.14 ERA in four June starts. The pain kicked in for Danks after a Jerry Hairston fly out to right field, leading to Danks' slow walk off the field.
If his positive progression from Saturday to Sunday serves as any indication, Danks should be ready close to the time he is eligible to return.
"Yesterday, I could hardly walk, it seems like. It's a good sign," Danks said. "[White Sox head athletic trainer] Hermie [Schneider] seems pretty optimistic and I just have to trust him on this one. This is new to me.
"There are still things I do that bother me and don't feel good. But like I said, yesterday, I could hardly walk. Today, I feel like I could maybe even do a light jog. I haven't tried and I don't plan on trying that today. I definitely feel a lot better today than I did yesterday."
Danks will be making the first trip to the disabled list in his nine-year professional career. Left-handed reliever Hector Santiago had his contract purchased from Double-A Birmingham to replace Danks.
Santiago, 23, has split the season between Class A Winston-Salem and Birmingham, going a combined 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 14 starts during his first season as a starter. The 6-foot, 210-pounder was 2-3 with a 3.68 ERA in eight starts with Winston-Salem and 4-2 with a 4.58 ERA in six outings with the Barons.
A native of Newark, N.J., Santiago was taken by the White Sox in the 30th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. With Colorado featuring left-handed power from Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Giambi, Seth Smith and Todd Helton, not to mention the Cubs featuring left-handed slugger Carlos Pena, who homered in all three games played this past week at U.S. Cellular Field, Santiago could be employed as a mid-inning situational hurler or possibly a long man as the team's fourth lefty reliever.
Santiago learned of his promotion on Sunday morning, when Birmingham manager Bobby Magallanes asked if the southpaw could work out of the bullpen. When Santiago said he could, Magallanes said he would be doing it for the White Sox. The young man arrived at U.S. Cellular in the sixth inning and already was warming up in the bullpen by the eighth.
"They told me from the get-go, 'Hey, you might be hot tonight and get ready to throw,'" Santiago said. "So I came in ready. It was a good experience. I haven't been nervous yet. When I get out there, I'm pretty sure I'll be nervous."
Because they were using a six-man rotation, the White Sox won't have to scramble to fill Danks' starting vacancy. As it stands now, Edwin Jackson would start Friday at Wrigley Field, with Philip Humber and Gavin Floyd both coming back on regular rest to finish the series.
Not missing a start and getting to 200 innings are a great source of yearly personal pride for Danks, having reached both of those goals in the last two seasons. This minor roadblock for those targets was unavoidable.
"We'll deal with it and try to come back as soon as possible," Danks said. "Hopefully I can pick up where I left off."