Danks' recovery ahead of schedule

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Danks' recovery ahead of schedule

John Danks is in good enough shape after his left shoulder surgery to have begun his throwing program earlier than expected.

Exactly three months after doctors arthroscopically repaired a capsule tear and minor debridements in Danks left shoulder, the White Sox 2012 opening day starter began to participate in a two-plus month throwing program on Monday.

Danks has thrown twice already this week and said hes off to a good start.

Danks, who went 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in nine starts last season, said the early start has him confident hell be ready by the time the White Sox open spring training in Glendale, Ariz. in February.

It definitely makes me feel like were doing the right things, Danks said by phone. The target date is still spring training. I think Im on pace to be ready by then. Thats the goal until Im told otherwise.

Although he didnt expect to feel 18 again, Danks has been able to make all the throws asked of him through two sessions. Hes even more pleased he was able to bounce back after Mondays session and make all 40 scheduled throws on Wednesday.

The plan administered by the White Sox training staff calls for Danks to throw every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through early January. Danks would then graduate to his normal throwing program to get ready for spring training. He said the White Sox moved the start date for his current program up three days in order to keep him on schedule for spring training.

Really didnt know what to expect, Danks said. Im not ready to get on a mound tomorrow, but everyone is pleased with where I am at. Were really kind of limping. It isnt a ton of throwing, just trying to retain my body to throw again.

Danks believes his Aug. 6 surgery -- one that revealed no damage to the rotator cuff -- is comparable to one Johan Santana had in mid-September 2010. Even though he had accrued more than 2,250 professional innings at the time of his surgery, Santana was able to return in late 2011 and then made 21 starts for the New York Mets in 2012. Danks, who signed a five-year, 65 million extension last offseason, has thrown 800 fewer innings than Santana.

That makes me feel a lot better, Danks said. He had a lot more mileage on his arm and (for him) to come back and have success definitely makes me feel a lot better. Its definitely something I can come back from and be normal.

The White Sox also lessened the burden on Danks when they announced Tuesday they would bring back Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd in 2013. Danks knows he doesnt have to rush back to competition --- he can afford to take the required time needed to rehab. With those two veterans in the fold, along with Chris Sale and either Jose Quintana or Hector Santiago, Danks is excited about the possibilities for the teams rotation next season.

It takes some pressure to come back a little sooner, Danks said. I think I was a factor in that, but if you can keep Gavin and Jake around, thats something you have to seriously think about. Its a huge help all the way around. Its lining up to be a fun summer.

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”