Danks feels ready for rehab start

Danks feels ready for rehab start

April 21, 2013, 11:30 am
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Alex Ruppenthal

John Danks thinks he is ready for a rehab start with one of the White Sox minor-league teams.

Danks, rehabbing from shoulder surgery he underwent last August, returned to the Sox clubhouse Sunday and will meet with the team’s staff Monday to discuss the next step in his comeback.

"I think I'm ready to go throw somewhere, and I'll tell them that tomorrow,” said Danks, who has been pitching in extended spring training. “I think I've done everything I can do in Arizona, and I'm ready to get into a real game atmosphere."

Danks pitched six innings in a start Saturday, though he didn’t know many pitches he threw. His recovery after throwing has improved since the spring.

"In spring training, I was able to play catch and do what you kind of have to do, but it didn't feel great playing catch,” he said. “The last few starts, it's felt great between starts. I think that's a good sign. Everything's on the up. We're on an upswing right now. It's been a lot of peaks and valleys."

The lefty said it’s nice to be back in Chicago, and that sitting in a hotel room in Arizona by himself “gets old.” In the winter, Danks said he was hoping to return to the Sox at the start of the season.

"We were being real aggressive with the start of the season and trying to be back, and mostly that was my doing,” he said. “I don't like sitting out. But I'm not caught off guard. We watched Jake (Peavy) go through this a couple years ago where he looked like he'd be ready and needed a little extra time, and things have worked out pretty good for him."

[More: White Sox place Viciedo on DL, call up Tekotte]

Danks said that if can get his velocity up to 88-91 mph consistently, he thinks he can be effective. But he knows he might not be able to throw as hard as he once did, and so he’s used the rehab time to work on different grips and pitches.

"I have to learn how to pitch now,” he said. “There was a time where I was able just to rear back and try my luck. I'm going to have to learn how to pitch. Hopefully everything will come back and I'll have the same arm strength and I'll be able to pitch with some good stuff."

Because Danks relies on his changeup, regaining his velocity might be more important for him than for other pitchers, he said.

“It widens that gap between the fastball and changeup, and the changeup's a big pitch of mine,” Danks said.

So, when would Danks like to be back?

"Sooner the better,” he said. “I don't want to be back until I know I can help the team. It'd be selfish of me to go out there just because I'm physically able to do it. I don't feel like I'm real far off, but like I said (it's not) my decision to make."

Dunn in lineup against lefty

Adam Dunn, who is hitless in his last 28 at-bats, is in the lineup against Twins left-hander Scott Diamond on Sunday.

Sox manager Robin Ventura was asked if he thought about sitting Dunn against the lefty.

"You can think about anything, but for us to turn around and start playing better, he's going to have to get some hits and be part of that, part of the answer,” Ventura said.

[More: Sox waste Peavy's stellar start]

Gillaspie seizing opportunity to play

With the bases loaded and one out Saturday, Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie made a diving stop and threw home from his knees to get a force out, saving a run.

Gillaspie has proven himself early in the season, hitting .324 in 37 at-bats and playing solid defense at third. The 25-year-old has started regularly at third since the second series of the season.

“Once you get an opportunity to play, I think your confidence grows,” Ventura said. “And for him, I think that's been happening. I think more defensively. Offensively, we knew he could swing it. He had a pretty good spring swinging the bat."

The Sox acquired Gillaspie from San Francisco in February to give them flexibility in the infield, allowing Jeff Keppinger to fill in at other spots. The addition proved significant after Gordon Beckham suffered a hand injury April 9 that will keep him out about six weeks.

"I think his thing is he's always willing to do whatever,” said Venutra, who mentioned that Gillaspie could play first in addition to third. “I think if we asked him to catch, he'd probably do that too."