GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The positives are there from a physical standpoint for John Danks but the results end of it all has yet to surface.
The White Sox starting pitcher allowed 10 earned runs, 11 hits and two home runs in 3 1/3 innings in a 10-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.
Danks threw a spring-high 82 pitches in his fourth Cactus League start and continues to hit every mark the club has asked since he began his rehab in late October. But with only two starts left in exhibition play and the regular season less than two weeks away both Danks and the White Sox know he has a lot to accomplish in little time.
“I don't have to get to where I can throw 120 pitches, but I do need to get to where I can get us through six innings,” Danks said. “I can't be the guy out there that's a burden on the bullpen every five days. It's coming, but obviously judging by (Tuesday), it's not there yet.”
Danks has a 16.36 ERA after four starts this spring, just 7 1/ 2 months removed from left shoulder surgery. Along the way, however, Danks has never slowed down once as he continues to throw bullpens and reach pitch counts.
[More: Hatred of losing fuels Peavy's resurgence]
But he’s also frustrated because he managed to work ahead in the count for much of his start on Tuesday but couldn’t put hitters away when he got to two strikes. Danks walked two batters and didn’t record any strikeouts.
“I feel like I ahead in the count, I just wasn't able to make that pitch,” Danks said. “I don't think it was so much stuff as it was just wasn't able to make a good enough pitch to put them away. I have to give them some credit; they hit some tough pitches and fouled off some tough pitches and got it to where I'd make a mistake and they'd hit it. … It would have been nice to have a good one today and I had anything but I just have to keep on plugging along. There's nothing we can do about it now. Just gonna put our head down and move on and hopefully it'll come sooner than later.”
Danks is set to throw again Sunday and on March 29 at Milwaukee.
[More: Opening Day start the next step for Sale]
The fifth spot in the White Sox rotation doesn’t come up until April 6 against the Seattle Mariners and could potentially be pushed back one day because of a day off April 2. But if Danks doesn’t progress quickly he could begin the season in the minors with the club opting for Dylan Axelrod or Hector Santiago.
“It’s not what he would want or where he’s going to be eventually, but it’s still kind of becoming a work in progress,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He feels fine and I think it’s progressing that way. But results-wise I think he wants better, everybody wants better.”
As for the time element, Ventura believes Danks has some. The second-year manager isn’t to the point where he’s ready to make a decision but said he wants to check on Danks on Wednesday to see how he feels.
“He does (have enough time),” Ventura said. “Again, it’s one of those we’ll see tomorrow and you go from there. The window is closing though. It is getting pretty tight.”