John Danks said Wednesday he knows there were more positive signs than negative ones in Tuesday’s somewhat frustrating effort.
Speaking by phone, the White Sox left-hander said he’s encouraged by the consistent velocity he showed in his second rehab start, this one at Triple-A Charlotte. Danks heard he was throwing 88-90 mph, but couldn’t confirm those reports.
Danks struck out four batters in five innings and allowed two earned runs. He also walked five batters, which he admits was a point of frustration. But considering he’s now nine months removed from shoulder surgery, Danks likes his current progress.
“Just wasn’t real sharp,” Danks told a pool reporter. “Just one of those days where I was all over the place a little bit. It was a good day, I got through it, threw all the pitches I wanted to. It was a positive day. Just continue to get feel for all my pitches. Just have to tighten the strings, put it all together.”
That Danks is even at this point is beyond encouraging for pitching coach Don Cooper. The White Sox spent all spring, as well as extended-spring training, getting Danks to a point where his arm was built properly. Now that he has done that, Danks can start to focus on competing in games.
And after two real starts and 12 innings, Cooper admits “there’s some things to iron out.”
At the same time, Cooper is pleased with where Danks is and said it might only be a matter of time before the pitcher is back in the big leagues.
“Now we’re talking about games and sequences and pitches and baseball stuff,” Cooper said. “Before it was just, ‘How you feeling?’ Well he is feeling better and now it’s trying to fine tune things and be equipped enough to come up and win a major league ballgame and that’s what we’re still searching after. … I don’t have target date. All I know is he’s closer and it could be imminent really, but he has got a few more things to iron out.”
One area Danks said is becoming of less concern is how he will feel the day after. He said he felt fine Wednesday morning and in each time he has pitched. Danks is hopeful he only has a few more minor-league starts to go before he’s back in the majors and was encouraged by the presence of general manager Rick Hahn at Tuesday’s outing.
“I’m feeling closer and closer to normal,” Danks said. “Last night no pain, the ball was coming out good. … Between starts and on the side, everything feels good. Everything is progressing. I’m coming along, I’m on an upswing still.”