White Sox lefty John Danks positive he’ll be on Opening Day roster
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org February 23, 2013 10:24PM
The Chicago White Sox John Danks gets his throws in during a rainy day at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 25, 2013 7:01AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — After throwing live batting practice Saturday morning, John Danks declared himself ready for Opening Day.
It was only Feb. 23, and Danks had trouble snapping off decent breaking pitches and locating his cut fastball, but he said he has no doubts he’ll be on the 25-man roster that breaks camp in five weeks.
“I don’t know what number [in the rotation], but I have no doubt I’ll be there on the Opening Day roster,’’ Danks said. “It’s not my job to make the order of the rotation, but I definitely see myself being in the first five this year.’’
A popular school of thought has Danks, who had shoulder surgery in August, not being rushed into action and joining the rotation a few weeks into the season. Danks, who angrily yelled for all to hear, Jake Peavy style, after a few of his pitches, would flunk out of that school.
“I’ve said all along patience is not one of my virtues,’’ Danks said. “It was the breaking ball, and I had trouble making the cutter do what I wanted it to do. But the most important thing is I felt good, and I’m feeling better each time out. So that’s a positive thing.
“It was a positive day; it’s coming. I feel like I’m throwing a little harder. The breaking ball left a little to be desired, but that’s not uncommon for this time of year.’’
This is all new to Danks, who said he’s pushing the envelope going forward, “but I have to rely on [trainer] Herm [ Schneider ] and [pitching coach Don Cooper] and the doctors to make sure I’m where I need to be. They’re happy where I’m at and see that I’m improving.’’
Left-handed-hitting third baseman Conor Gillaspie arrived a day after being traded from the Giants. Gillaspie faced lefties Chris Sale and Danks in live batting practice.
Gillaspie, 25, a 2008 first-round draft choice who faced long odds of making the Giants’ Opening Day roster, has a much better chance of breaking camp with the Sox.
“It could have been a lot worse; I might not have had a job at the end of spring training,’’ Gillaspie said. “I’m very thankful it happened the way it did and have an opportunity of making the club. I’m going to practice hard, play hard, do my best and see wherever that takes me.’’
A career .289 hitter in the minors, Gillaspie has batted .205 in 48 major-league plate appearances. Because he’s out of options, Gillaspie would have to clear waivers if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster. The Sox were willing to trade hard-throwing 6-6 right-hander Jeff Soptic for Gillaspie because of Soptic’s control problems (29 walks in 431/3 innings at Class A Kannapolis in 2012).
Assuming there are no injuries, that Danks is ready for Opening Day and that Gillaspie makes the team over Brent Morel — who has options and bats right-handed — there’s a good chance these will be the 25 players who break camp with the Sox: pitchers Sale, Peavy, Danks, Jose Quintana , Gavin Floyd , Hector Santiago , Donnie Veal , Nate Jones , Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton , Matt Lindstrom and Addison Reed; starting players Alejandro De Aza , Jeff Keppinger , Alex Rios , Paul Konerko , Adam Dunn , Dayan Viciedo , Alexei Ramirez , Tyler Flowers and Gordon Beckham; and bench players Hector Gimenez , Angel Sanchez , Dewayne Wise and Gillaspie.