After John Danks endured disappointing outing against the Los Angeles Angels last Thursday, he acknowledged that no matter how painlessly he threw the ball, he would need to start seeing positive results.
If it's true that pitchers have a head start on the hitters when spring games begin, this is what it would look like when the hitters catch up. Watching the video of Danks' postgame reaction, you can see and hear resignation enter the picture:
Robin Ventura acknowledged that the time is drawing near, but he didn't want to show his hand until waiting for the day-after Danks report.
I haven't seen a radar-gun reading, but listening to the game, it's pretty clear that he's still having the same problems -- he's not missing bats (zero strikeouts), and he doesn't have the ability to come inside with any authority. So he's left to hope that circumstances fall into place behind him, that that didn't happen. The defense made three miscues (two errors), and the Reds stung him with a few well-placed bloops and several well-struck hits, so he's getting attacked from all angles. From the audio description, Alexei Ramirez made a couple nice stabs on rocket shots to prevent an even worse fate.
Jeff Brantley, the Reds' radio analyst, noted numerous times that Danks looked tentative. Sample clip:
"And you can see Danks shaking his head on the mound. Very hesitant in the way he's delivering the baseball. You have to wonder if his health is where it's supposed to be at this point."
I can't say Brantley is an expert on Danks' mechanics, but he expressed the same sentiment in a few different ways during the four innings Danks started, so there's that.
Either way, Danks appears to be destined for Charlotte, which is where I've been slotting him mentally until mid-May or so. The Sox have been planning for it, too. Hector Santiago has followed a spot-starter routine so far; he threw 42 pitches during his most recent appearance during a "B" game on Sunday. He's scheduled to throw again against Oakland later today in relief of Gavin Floyd, so if he's pushed back, that could suggest a change of plans for April is already taking shape.
At least the Sox have options this time around. Back in 2009, Ozzie Guillen had to take a shaky, post-Achilles-surgery Jose Contreras because Bartolo Colon was the fifth starter, and everybody else was more unfit. This time, there's no need to push a guy who isn't yet responding. That's what was likely to happen all along, so at the moment, it's really only disappointing because Danks is disappointed.