Three weeks into a program that has him throwing 50 pitches (fastballs and changeups) off a mound every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, White Sox left-hander John Danks is ready for the next step in his rehab.
"Next week, I start throwing breaking balls, and we'll go from there," said Danks at SoxFest on Saturday, over five months removed from surgery to remove a capsular tear in his left shoulder.
Taking the step to throwing breaking pitches affirms that Danks has remained on schedule throughout the initial tests of how his arm would respond to throwing from the mound again, after he was restricted to playing catch for the first two months of his rehab.
"I haven't had any setbacks. This is my first rehab, so I don't really know where I'm supposed to be but Herm (Schneider) and the doctors--saw them a couple days ago--are very happy with where I'm at."
Where Danks is at is a stage where he is still exercising a bit of caution
"I'm not raring back and throwing it one hundred percent, but there's a little bit on it. I'm not just lobbing it in. I'm trying to push it as much as I can right now safely. I could throw it harder if I wanted to, but it probably wouldn't be in my best interest."
Robin Ventura recently announced intentions to hold Danks, as well as Chris Sale, out of the early games of what will be an extended Spring Training due to the World Baseball Classic, but the announcement didn't faze Danks, or alter his goals.
"I kind of knew that they would take it easy with me," said Danks, "I understand their concern and their caution with me, but at the same time I'm going to work and try to be ready to go."
With approval from Schneider and pitching coach Don Cooper that he's hit all the necessary markers in rehab, the target for Danks remains to be ready, and in the rotation for the start of the season.
"Health-wise, I should be ready by then," said Danks, "I'm going to be disappointed if I'm not ready by then. I feel like I'll be ready before then, but at the end of the day it's Robin Ventura, Rick Hahn, and Kenny Williams's call."