It's now been over a year since John Danks last pitched in the major leagues, but the high-priced left-hander could find himself pitching for the White Sox as soon as this week.
The White Sox haven't made a final decision on Danks' next step, but will formulate a plan by the middle of this week on where he'll pitch next. Danks completed his fourth minor league rehab start on Saturday and has thrown 22 2/3 innings between stops with Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.
Danks will be in Chicago this week to meet with coaches and team brass, and will throw a side session under the supervision of pitching coach Don Cooper at U.S. Cellular Field.
"We’ve got time to be able to do it and not just make a quick decision," manager Robin Ventura said. "It’ll be a longer decision than sitting down for a couple minutes."
If Danks does indeed make his next start in a White Sox uniform, it'll come on the heels of his worst rehab start. On Saturday, Danks lasted just 4 2/3 innings against Toronto's Triple-A affiliate, walking four and hitting a pair of batters as well. Control has been an issue for Danks in his three starts with Triple-A Charlotte, as he walked five in five innings May 7, three in six innings May 12 and then the four in 4 2/3 May 18.
General manager Rick Hahn, though, doesn't see those control issues as something that'll hold Danks back from making his season debut with the White Sox.
"Anytime a guy is on a rehab assignment, I don’t think you should put too much into their performance," Hahn said. "Obviously they’re there to hopefully perform well, but their real goal is to get through the work healthy and to work on the elements of their mechanics and hitch or swing adjustments that they’re there to work on and get themselves back to 100 percent and game ready.
"So while the walk number in recent starts is higher than we hoped, hopefully it will higher than he’ll wind up doing when he comes back to Chicago. It’s really not a performance evaluation we’re making. It’s more about health and mechanics."