Rain can’t slow left-hander John Danks’ preparation
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter March 1, 2014 11:28PM
Updated: April 3, 2014 7:04AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The second game of the White Sox’ Cactus League season was rained out Saturday, leaving left-hander John Danks and the other scheduled pitchers to throw under cover in simulated game situations.
Danks, who is lined up to fall behind Opening Day starter Chris Sale in the rotation, threw 45 to 50 pitches, used his entire arsenal and got up and down for three innings.
‘‘Everything felt good,’’ Danks said. ‘‘I was pleased with the cutter. I was able to make it move and actually started playing with it on the opposite side of the plate.’’
Danks and pitching coach Don Cooper are feeling more comfortable with Danks spotting the cutter on the inside corner to lefties.
‘‘I have to do something to get lefties out more consistently, and I think I might have found something,’’ Danks said.
The Sox’ highest-paid pitcher, Danks has raised the bar on expectations after his post-surgery season in 2013, during which he went 4-14 with a 4.75 ERA.
The starting rotation
For now, the starters are lined up as follows: Sale will go on Opening Day, followed by Danks, right-hander Felipe Paulino, left-hander Jose Quintana and right-hander Erik Johnson.
Quintana is the Sox’ second-best starter behind Sale off the last two seasons, but it makes sense to separate the top innings-eaters in the rotation because they’re both lefties and because it gives the Sox the most protection against consecutive high-innings games for the bullpen.
‘‘We have guys in a certain spot right now if you look and watch,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘Any of that can change with the pencil and eraser. It won’t change with Chris. It could change with 2-3-4-5.’’
The Sox agreed to terms on one-year contracts with 24 players, including Quintana ($550,000) and reliever Nate Jones ($545,000).
Also signed were pitchers Maikel Cleto, Frank De Los Santos, Johnson, Charlie Leesman, Nestor Molina, Jake Petricka, Andre Rienzo, Eric Surkamp, Donnie Veal and Daniel Webb; catchers Adrian Nieto and Josh Phegley; infielders Matt Davidson, Leury Garcia, Conor Gillaspie, Carlos Sanchez and Marcus Semien; and outfielders Jordan Danks, Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia, Jared Mitchell and Trayce Thompson.
The major-league minimum salary is $500,000. All players on the 40-man roster are signed.
Off to the Oscars
Slugger Adam Dunn is expected to get some work in Sunday morning before going to the Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif. Dunn played a bit role in ‘‘Dallas Buyers Club’’ and is an investor in the film, which is up for best picture. He probably won’t play in his first spring game until Tuesday.
He was hoping more than anyone that the game Saturday wouldn’t get rained out.
‘‘There are so many places you can get at-bats, so one or two or three days missing is not the end of the world, for sure,’’ Dunn said.
This and that
The Sox play the Texas Rangers on Sunday in Surprise, Ariz. Paulino will start and will be followed by a line of prospects, including Scott Snodgress and Leesman.
◆ Phegley has been scratched from the lineup with the flu. Nieto will catch after Tyler Flowers on Sunday.
◆ Infielder Jeff Keppinger’s right shoulder, which had a large ice pack on it Saturday, is ‘‘kind of slowly getting better,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.