ARLINGTON, Texas -- There was a time, back when John Danks was a celebrated member of "DVD" -- Danks, Edinson Volquez and Thomas Diamond, a trio of Rangers pitching prospects before the club reached contender status -- that he dreamed of wearing a Rangers uniform and pitching in front of a sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
He's been back, of course, many times in his five years since being traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of the deal that brought Brandon McCarthy to the Rangers in 2006, one of GM Jon Daniels' early -- and unsuccessful -- moves. McCarthy was the Opening Day starter for the Oakland A's this season.
"That's the only team I knew at the time and I wanted to be a Ranger at that time," Danks said. "I wanted to get to the big leagues. Never did I imagine being traded to Chicago. That's not just something you think about."
Danks doesn't know too many folks that are with the Rangers anymore. It's been five years, after all. And the club has gone from a bottom-dweller in the AL West to the two-time defending AL champions. Still, Texas is home for Danks and he'll have lots of family and friends in Arlington to see him pitch Friday afternoon. He grew up in the Austin area and attended Round Rock High School. Texas drafted him ninth overall in the first round of the 2003 MLB Draft.
For Danks, it was a chance to play for the team he grew up rooting for as a kid. He said he attended many games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
"I love it," Danks said about the park. "We came here a lot as a kid. It's always exciting coming here as a kid, and it's been exciting for me to come here as a player, just because I'm so close to home, there's always people up here, and like I said, I'm hoping to throw well."
Danks is hoping to reverse of trend of struggles against the Rangers in Arlington. He is 1-4 with a 4.68 ERA in five starts. He has 26 strikeouts and eight walks and allowed five homers in those starts.