News on the injury front has been disastrous for the White Sox this season, with six players on the disabled list through just 27 games.
While the team has played poorly, it’s hard for a team with two starting pitchers, the starting second baseman and left-fielder, a utility man, and a lefty specialist ending up on the shelf before the end of April to really play good baseball.
However, the news is starting to get better, as John Danks made the biggest step in his progression on Thursday night. In his first rehab start after throwing in a handful of extended Spring Training outings, the lefty tossed seven innings of two-run ball for AA Birmingham.
Danks walked just one guy and allowed five hits with one strikeout.
The thing everyone paid attention to most in his Spring Training outings was Danks’ velocity, as that was a barometer to see where his arm strength was at. Reports had Danks in the mid-80s for the most part, but hitting 91 mph late in the ballgame.
Danks also needed just 87 pitches to get through seven innings, and he texted reporters after the game to let them know he threw all his pitches for strikes (this according to his player page on ESPN.com).
Him getting absolutely tattooed became commonplace in his Spring Training starts, as he never really was able to raise his velocity or have good command. So, Thursday night was obviously extremely good news on the John Danks front; the best we have heard to date.
However, don’t expect him back for at least another two rehab starts. Usually, starting pitchers make two or three of these before returning to the big league club, but we all know the team has elected to err on the side of caution after his rough Spring Training.
It probably would be a wise move to change that approach just because he was terrific on Thursday, as not rushing him has allowed him to progress to this point.
Danks’ next rehab start looks like it is currently slated for AAA Charlotte on Tuesday on typical four days rest. After that, we could be looking at next Sunday, May 12, for rehab start number three. If Danks suffers no setbacks and remains somewhat effective, that’s when the idea of his return to the mound will seriously start to get looked at.