Chicago White Sox

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.

Another trade candidate in the bullpen? Dan Jennings is next man up for White Sox in more ways than one

Another trade candidate in the bullpen? Dan Jennings is next man up for White Sox in more ways than one

Dan Jennings is the next man up for the White Sox.

On a couple different fronts.

Most logically, Jennings is the next person — along with the recently returned Jake Petricka — to slide into a late-inning role for a team that’s traded away three late-inning relievers in eight days. The White Sox trades of David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees and Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers has cleared the way for Jennings and Petricka to be the new late-game arms for the South Siders.

But that’s not all, as Jennings could also soon find his name on the transactions page, another piece of what was a pretty stellar relief corps that could entice contenders. If the White Sox make yet another move before Monday’s trade deadline, it’s possible it could include Jennings.

“You really try to push that out of your head,” Jennings said of trade buzz. “I mean, I’ve been traded once before, totally unexpected. You really try to push that to the side. Even if you get traded or you’re here, it’s still the same game. It’s still pitching, and I’ve always taken pride in taking the ball whenever, in any situation. I just hope to continue to do that.”

Jennings’ season ERA of 3.45 might not have impressed the same way those of Robertson, Swarzak and Kahnle did before they left town. But Jennings has been just as impressive of late, posting a 2.25 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 24 innings of work since June 6. That’s just six earned runs in his last 23 appearances, with opposing batters turning in just a .491 OPS against him during that stretch.

“I don’t think they tell the whole picture,” Jennings said of those season-long numbers. “I had a few outings where I felt like I threw the ball really well and the result didn’t dictate that. It’s all about how you feel throwing the ball, if you’re keeping the ball down, if you’re throwing strikes. Sometimes in this game it’s funny where it doesn’t necessarily work out in your favor despite how you throw the ball. I do feel like I’ve been throwing the ball well for a while now. You hope the results match that, but sometimes they don’t and you’ve just got to keep plugging away.”

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With plenty of contending teams looking for bullpen help, perhaps Rick Hahn can squeeze one more rebuild-centered acquisition out of a buyer in exchange for another bullpen arm.

Jennings, though, could also stay on the South Side and be a featured player in what is now a mighty different-looking bullpen. Petricka, just off the DL, as well as Tyler Clippard, acquired in that trade with the Yankees, figure to make up the new White Sox late-inning unit.

Jennings has a pretty good track record including a 2.08 ERA in 64 games last season with the White Sox and a 1.34 ERA in 47 games with the Miami Marlins in 2014. Petricka, meanwhile, converted 14 saves in 18 opportunities doing time as the White Sox closer in 2014.

“Everyone wants to pitch in that eighth, ninth inning,” Petricka said. “No matter how it comes about, you’re excited for it. So if my name’s called, I’ll be ready.”

The reason for those opportunities, the moves that have already been made and the continued trade rumors is that the White Sox bullpen has been very strong this season. Four guys turning in good performances has meant the White Sox have been able to strengthen their rebuilding effort. It could happen one more time, too.

“I think everybody knew we had the pieces,” Jennings said. “We’ve always had the guys. Since I’ve been here, since Day 1, we’ve had the guys. We knew we had a lot of talent in this room, and that is a good thing. Obviously, other teams want that talent and it’s unfortunate again to see friends and teammates go, but that’s the nature of this game.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

After a wild day at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Chuck Garfien and Dan Hayes discuss John Lackey hitting four White Sox batters and also play Hawk Harrelson's epic on-air rant directed at the Cubs pitcher.

"Jeff the Sox Fan" appears on the podcast and suggests what he thinks Jose Abreu should have done to Lackey when he was hit for a second time.

While they taped the podcast, Anthony Swarzak was traded to the Brewers. What kind of return did the White Sox get? Garfien also interviews White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about losing Quintana to the Cubs, why he can't watch Quintana and Chris Sale pitch in different uniform, when some minor leaguers like Reynaldo Lopez will be called up and more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: