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John Danks quits chewing tobacco, says he feels fingers again

Big League Stew

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John Danks(notes) says he feels better ever since he loosened his grip on the dip.

Danks, a White Sox lefty, had been experiencing circulation problems and blisters with his left index finger earlier this season. He underwent several tests and doctors could not pin down a cause, though they did tell him chewing tobacco could be a factor.

So, Danks, who picked up the harmful habit in the minors, quit putting a pinch between his cheek and gum about a month ago and says he feels better.

From MLB.com:

"I think it's something that it probably didn't help, but I'm over a month now without a dip, and it was something I wanted to do even before the finger problem. But definitely it's a battle for me to quit, but I feel like I'm past the worst, and it really is a big accomplishment for me to be able to quit."

Quitting might seem like a simple act, but as anyone who struggles with an addiction knows, it's anything but easy. A lot of players will agree, including the following ...

• Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton(notes) relapsed with alcohol this off-season (at least once, that we know about) and also said he was going to quit tobacco. However, Hamilton recently said that he hasn't been able to kick the habit as quickly as he wanted.

• Two years ago, Red Sox manager Terry Francona made a big money bet with a club executive that he could quit chewing tobacco.

• I'm not sure if Dodgers catcher Russell Martin(notes) is still abstaining from chew as he was in spring training, but more power to him if he is.

Some have called for MLB to ban chewing tobacco, as it did in the minors (with mixed success at best). The crotchety old man in me agrees that a business should be allowed to shape its image. The libertarian in me says grown men should be allowed to ingest whatever legal substance he wants. The librarian in me just wants to make everyone go "shush."

But no matter if the stuff is banned or passed out like candy, players are on their own once hooked. Danks' next start comes tomorrow at Fenway Park. Check on his progress.

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