John Danks' season ended on May 19 of last year after pitching his best game of the year against the Cubs. After hoping he would come back after a couple months of rest, Danks had surgery on Aug. 6 and was said to be on track for spring training.
Now that we are about a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting, White Sox trainer Herm Schneider updated his status. Danks was on a long-toss throwing program from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, and he completed it with no problems.
Here is a video of Danks playing catch in a parking lot with commentary from both Danks and Schneider:
Danks received a five-year, $65 million contract extension last offseason and by his own accord was a "waste of money" last year. The White Sox need him to pitch like he did from 2008 to 2010, when he was one of the best young pitchers in the league.
There are questions that surround every member of the White Sox rotation. Jake Peavy hadn't thrown 200 innings since his days in a Padre uniform. Chris Sale threw 192 innings last year and needed plenty of breaks in between starts down the stretch. Jose Quintana pitched well, but then tailed off as his workload increased. Gavin Floyd had some issues with his elbow throughout the season and only threw 168 innings. If the White Sox are going to be in the thick of things, their starters are going to have to pitch well and Danks is a big key to that. Hopefully the progress he has shown thus far keeps up throughout spring training.
In other White Sox news, Dayan Viciedo and Tyler Flowers are set to take part in "Camp Manto" this week, as Jeff Manto is going to meet with Viciedo and Flowers in Florida. Manto, Robin Ventura and Harold Baines decided that they are going to try and get Viciedo to implement a leg kick at the plate.
"With this leg kick, the timing, his body will be behind the ball more often and give him a better chance for better contact," Manto said. "He's such a tremendous hitter, but sometimes he gets so excited getting after the ball."
That is a pretty drastic change to make to a swing, but if Harold thinks adding a leg kick is a good idea, well then it must be a good idea. Nobody used that strategy better than he did.
The plan for Flowers is to make sure that he is in good position to hit as he transitions to the starting job.
"We won't know what we have until the end of Spring Training, after he gets consistent at-bats like a No. 1," Manto said of Flowers. "We'll be dealing with a lot of things for the first time with him, and the last thing he needs to be worried about is mechanics."
Flowers will no doubt have struggles as the league adjusts to him and he has to make adjustments on a daily basis instead of waiting a week to get another couple of at bats.
Players are hitting and throwing. We are getting closer. I can almost taste the onions on my hot dog.