GLENDALE, Ariz. — Adam Dunn and John Danks will have to wait just a little longer to get into a real game this spring.
Saturday’s White Sox game against the Cleveland Indians was cancelled because of rain. While Danks threw three simulated innings in the indoor batting cages, Dunn has to wait until he returns from the Oscars on Tuesday to see game action.
The slugger isn’t worried about catching up because he can play against minor leaguers and in simulated games. But Dunn wants to ensure he gets anywhere from 55 to 70 plate appearances this spring to be ready for Opening Day.
“There are so many places you can get at-bats, so one or two or three days missing is not the end of the world, for sure,” Dunn said. “I use spring training to get ready for Opening Day. Spring training to me is not like spring training for everyone else. I need spring training. It’s what I work on. It’s what gets me ready for the season.”
Pitching coach Don Cooper had Saturday’s starting pitchers get normal work in, though conditions in the cage are abnormal. While hitters do stand in and pitchers get up and down two to three times, game conditions can’t be matched. But Cooper wants his pitchers to stay on schedule. Sunday’s pitchers, including Felipe Paulino, will throw as scheduled in Surprise, Ariz., against the Texas Rangers.
Danks threw three innings and 45 pitches and will get his first spring start on Thursday against the Seattle Mariners.
“It was good to get up that third time and stretch it out as much as we can,” Danks said. “We have plenty of time to get to where we want to be, but the sooner we can get up in the six-, seven-inning mark, that really helps. Everything felt good. I was pleased with the cutter. I was able to make it move and actually started playing with it on the opposite side of the plate. It’s a good sign that it’s moving enough that I feel comfortable and Coop feels comfortable working in to a lefty.”
Three other White Sox players are behind and held out of action: Matt Lindstrom, Josh Phegley and Jeff Keppinger. Phegley has the flu and isn’t likely to play Sunday, while Keppinger wore a big ice pack on his surgically repaired shoulder. Manager Robin Ventura said Keppinger is slowly improving. Keppinger played in Tuesday’s intrasquad game.
“We’ll expect him to hit in the next couple of days, and throwing is just gradual,” Ventura said.