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John Danks goes seven innings in first rehab start

Lots of easy outs, but only one strikeout, in lefty's first shot at real competition in 2013

John Shadrick/Birmingham Barons

Making his first rehab start in Birmingham with the Barons tonight, John Danks enjoyed an easy evening. In fact, it might've been easier than anticipated.

Barons broadcaster Curt Bloom said Danks would be on a six-inning/90-pitch limit, but when Danks wrapped up six innings with just 67 pitches, he kept going. Ultimately, he threw seven innings and finished with this line:

Danks 7 5 2 2 1 1 1 86-55

The big question is the velocity, and that's still not close enough to where it was -- and perhaps where it has to be. The readings had him between 84 and 87, but Bloom said that the stadium at new Regions Field was slow by a couple ticks, according to scouts and team officials who brought their own guns. He was willing to revise that number upward to 91, but 89 sounds more reasonable at the top end, given earlier reports.

Along the same lines, he recorded only one strikeout -- a backwards K to close out the sixth inning. On the other hand, he issued only one walk, and that was to old friend C.J. Retherford, Danks' penultimate batter of the inning.

In between, he strung together mostly routine outs that allowed him to work quickly. He gave up a bounced single through the left side to start the game, then retired the next 12 straight. He gave up run in the fifth and sixth innings -- Retherford with an RBI triple, and Yasel Puig cranking a hanging changeup over the fence. That was only a solo shot, thanks to Trayce Thompson's diving catch to retire the batter before.

Bloom used the words "free and easy" to describe his delivery. I'm guessing Danks will say the same, but the scant amount of swings and misses (six total) suggests this easy won't cut it two levels up.