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White Sox’ John Danks ‘all good’ after first outing since shoulder surgery

John Danks

John Danks

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Aside from giving up a home run to the second batter he faced Monday against the San Francisco Giants, every-
thing about left-hander John Danks’ first game appearance since last May was
satisfactory.

Danks threw 27 of 35 pitches for strikes and touched 89 mph on the speed gun — not midseason velocity but good enough for now. More important, the left shoulder that required surgery in August felt good.

‘‘All good,’’ Danks said at his locker after his stint. ‘‘I’m glad it’s over. I couldn’t have really asked for more. I don’t want to give up homers, but my main focus was throwing strikes, and I was able to do that.’’

Throwing mostly fastballs and changeups, Danks
retired six of the eight batters he faced. Joaquin Arias homered to left on a changeup before Danks retired the next five Giants. After Kensuke Tanaka singled to lead off the third inning, manager Robin Ventura took the ball to end Danks’ day.

‘‘I feel good right now,’’ Danks said. ‘‘The test will be [Tuesday] and [Wednesday]. So far, so good. As I was going back out there for the second and third innings, I didn’t feel like I was losing anything. If anything, it was starting to come to me a little bit.’’

Time stood still for Danks in the two hours leading up to the game. It had been a long winter working toward the moment.

‘‘You don’t see it, but Johnny had a really tough winter busting it in so many ways,’’ said right-hander Jake Peavy, who is familiar with recovery processes. ‘‘He put so much time in this winter to get back where he is.’’

‘‘I tell you what, the clock stopped at 11,’’ Danks said. ‘‘I felt like I kept looking at the clock, waiting for the game to start. Once I got on the field and started warming up, it felt a little more in my comfort zone.’’

Danks’ recovery is big news for the Sox. Either they have their Opening Day starter from 2012 in the rotation, or they have him at a fraction of what he was.

‘‘It’s going to be a big shot in the arm to us if John Danks is the John Danks we know,’’ Peavy said.

Peavy knows what Danks is going through physically. He knows the mental side can be equally difficult.

‘‘Any time they open you up, you’re not going to be
exactly the same,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘You’re wired a little differently, and you’ll never know how that’s going to mesh with the other parts of your body. Modern medicine has gotten so good that the chances of being who you were or even better is a great possibility. But with anybody who has anything done to the part of their body that is their livelihood, there’s that fear.’’

Peavy is Danks’ catch partner. They talk about how they feel when they’re done throwing, so Peavy ‘‘can tell when he’s hanging and when he’s good.’’ It says a lot that Danks is on the same throwing and work routines as Peavy, left-hander Chris Sale, right-hander Gavin Floyd and left-hander Jose Quintana.

‘‘The biggest thing, if there is a setback where he has to sit down for a week or whatever — and setbacks are to be expected — I don’t think John or anybody in this clubhouse would panic,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘It’s crazy rare if a guy comes off surgery and there isn’t any setback. But, at this time, I don’t see any indications that’s the case.’’

Peavy, who had a groundbreaking operation of sorts when he had a lat muscle
reattached in 2011, said Danks must be smart and listen to his body.

‘‘The older you get, you have to listen to your body,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a long season, and your body doesn’t lie to you. In your pitching and your workouts, your body doesn’t lie to you. I think he’s learning to do that.’’

WHITE SOX 6, GIANTS 2

FOR THE RECORD: The Sox improved to 5-3-2 as John Danks pitched in a game for the first time since May. Dewayne Wise hit an opposite-field three-run homer and singled, Alexei Ramirez doubled in a run and Paul Konerko had an RBI. The Sox had 10 hits, including four against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, who hadn’t allowed a run in his first two outings.

‘ALL GOOD’ FOR DANKS: The Sox’ 2012 Opening Day starter threw 35 pitches in two-plus innings, 27 for strikes. He gave up one run and two hits, including a home run. “I was very happy with my control, the fact that I was able to throw strikes and make them put the ball in play,’’ said Danks, who said his surgically repaired left shoulder feels good.

PROSPECT WATCH: Right-hander Simon Castro, who came from the Padres in the trade for Carlos Quentin, struck out five and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. “You see him make a couple different appearances, and he’s more polished with a better idea of what he’s doing,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.

WHO’S ON THIRD? Jeff Keppinger, who was limited to designated hitter while his throwing shoulder strengthened after an ankle injury slowed his conditioning, played third base and batted third. He was 3-for-3 with three singles. “He looks fine; he looks comfortable [at third base],’’ Ventura said.

ON DECK: The Sox host Team USA at 2:05 p.m. (audio at mlb.com) in the Americans’ first tuneup for the World Baseball Classic. Gavin Floyd gets his first start. Matt Thornton (elbow soreness) is scheduled to make his first appearance.



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