Opportunities continue for Greene, Danks
With Jeff Keppinger and Dewayne Wise still fighting slight injuries that are keeping them at day-to-day status, a pair of Sox bench players are getting opportunities to start in back-to-back games.
Greene and Danks both started last night, with Greene being a part of the trio of unlikely home-run hitters that powered the Sox to victory.
“I think that’s a great sign of a strong team,” Greene said. “Every team’s going to go through adversity throughout the year whether it be injuries or anything, and if you’re able to have guys come in and step up and anybody you’re going to plug in there that’s going to help the team win, that’s a great sign for a long season.”
Danks had his own moment that nearly made the highlight reels. When Jose Molina rocketed a line-drive to the top of the centerfield fence in the top of the ninth, Danks went slamming into the wall in an attempt to make the catch. He didn’t, and Molina ended up with a double.
“I’m a little banged up, but it’s nothing serious,” Danks said. “I told myself I was going to catch that ball or die trying. Just another day.
“I’ve always had the mentality when I’m playing in the field that if I can’t have a hit, nobody gets a hit. I enjoy stealing hits for sure.”
But it’s that sort of energy and effort that manager Robin Ventura likes to see from the guys that don’t play every day, and it shows how those players are trying to make the most of every opportunity.
“I knew coming into last season and this one I was going to be a backup guy, a guy getting a spot start every once and again with injuries and stuff. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of some opportunity,” Danks said.
John Danks climbs toward return
White Sox pitcher John Danks is still on the march back from shoulder surgery last August. But according to Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, his return to the Majors could be “a hop, skip and a jump” away.
Danks threw his most recent rehab start on Friday night with the Sox’s rookie-league team in Arizona. According to Cooper, all went well, and the next step is for Danks to make a rehab outing with one of the Sox’s minor-league affiliates within the next five days.
“John pitched well yesterday, six innings, I think it was 87 pitches or something like that. He pitched well, that’s the bottom line,” Cooper said. “That’s in rookie ball. And now the final part of the rehab, we’re sending him out of Arizona and he’s going to be at one of our affiliates five days from now pitching. We’re going to really monitor him a little closer now because he’s a hop, skip and a jump possibly from being back in the big leagues.”
Cooper said that the determination of when Danks will return is one the pitcher himself will have a hand in making.
“The question that John’s going to have to answer -- and he’ll have that answer before anybody else, he’ll know better than anybody else and we talked about this, John and I -- the question is, ‘Are you ready to go win a Major League game?’” Cooper said. “He knows what it takes to win here. He knows what he’s got to have equipment wise and stuff wise. And that’s what we’re trying to hone in on now. We’re getting down to it. And he’s got a little bit more to climb. And hopefully that climb continues.
“He’s already ahead of schedule. This is something we didn’t want to rush. He’s not even a year past surgery, but the final preparation -- and hopefully he continues to climb -- is underway.”
White Sox notes
-- Right-handed pitcher Leyson Septimo made an appearance in a minor league rehab assignment Friday night with Triple-A Charlotte. He faced five batters, retiring just one, yielding three runs on one hit -- a home run -- and two walks.
-- Left-handed pitcher Charlie Leesman rejected a waiver claim assignment to Texas. He instead signed a minor-league deal with the Sox and will report to extended Spring Training. Leesman was claimed on waivers by the Rangers earlier this month after being released by the Sox on April 17. He made 26 starts for Triple-A Charlotte in 2012 and had surgery on his left knee this offseason.
-- Hector Gimenez’s first career home run in Friday night’s 5-4 win over Tampa Bay was just the second hit by a Sox rookie age 30 or older in the last 60 years, according to Elias.