CHICAGO (AP) — Worn down by the mundane routine of extended spring training, John Danks had no problem trading the heat of Arizona for the cool weather in Chicago.
Anything that gets him closer to the major leagues is his preferred direction.
The left-hander was back at his locker in the White Sox clubhouse on Sunday and talked optimistically about a more permanent return. He is planning to meet with team officials on Monday and is hoping to go out on a minor league rehab assignment soon.
“I think I’m ready to go throw somewhere, and I’ll tell them that tomorrow,” he said. “I think I’ve done everything I can do in Arizona, and I’m ready to get into a real game atmosphere.”
Danks made only nine starts last season before season-ending surgery in August to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in his rotator cuff and biceps. He is in the second season of a $65 million, five-year contract.
He tried to get ready for the start of the season, but the White Sox placed him on the 15-day disabled list on March 26.
“We were being real aggressive with the start of the season and trying to be back, and mostly that was my doing,” said Danks, who is drawing inspiration from teammate Jake Peavy’s recovery from major shoulder surgery. “I don’t like sitting out. I’m not caught off guard. We watched Jake go through this a couple years ago where he looked like he’d be ready and needed a little extra time, and things have worked out pretty good for him.”
Danks, who turned 28 last Monday, had a career-high 15 wins for the White Sox in 2010, when he made 32 starts and cleared 200 innings for the second consecutive season. But he slipped to 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA in 2011 and had his injury woes last year.
He will throw a bullpen session in front of pitching coach Don Cooper early this week, but the White Sox seem content to go slow with Danks as he works his way through a tricky recovery process.
“It’s not an easy surgery. It’s not an easy comeback,” manager Robin Ventura said. “There has to be velocity that goes with it, but there’s a lot of other things that we would like to see with that too, and being healthy all the way through is No. 1.”
For now, Danks sounds as if he’s just happy to be out of Arizona.
“Just sitting in a hotel room by yourself every day, it gets old,” he said. “Just a change of scenery. I miss being around the guys. It’s also a good chance for the doctors to see me and to get to throw in front of Coop.”
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