White Sox lefty John Danks gets roughed up by D-backs in second outing
BY CHRIS DE LUCA email@example.com March 9, 2013 9:24PM
Updated: April 11, 2013 7:10AM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Considering where he has been and where he’s headed, John Danks knew he was in no position to complain Saturday after an outing that White Sox manager Robin Ventura described in the nicest terms possible.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Ventura said.
But it was progress.
Danks, in his second start since his 2012 season was shut down because of shoulder pain that led to Aug. 6 surgery, allowed four runs (three earned), seven hits and two walks and had two strikeouts in 21/3 innings in the Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.
The rough outing was punctuated by A.J. Pollock’s solo home run in the third inning.
“No one wants to go out there and get hit around, but in the grand scheme of things, the most important thing today was just being healthy and getting the pitches in,” Danks said. “But I’d be lying to you a little bit if I said it didn’t [bug] me, getting hit around.”
Danks, 27, remains on target to open the season in the Sox’ rotation, experiencing no setbacks in his comeback from surgery.
“I felt good,” Danks said. “It’s still a work in progress. I wasn’t throwing as hard as I anticipate when it’s all said and done. But I threw all four pitches. There were no restraints, just go out there and pitch.”
Danks, who threw 32 of his 56 pitches for strikes, said he was struggling with his control against Arizona, but that’s to be expected at this stage of camp.
“Part of that was mixing in a few more breaking balls,” he said. “But definitely compared to my last start, fastball command wasn’t nearly as good and changeup, either. But that will all come. Those are feel pitches. Once we get really rolling, I don’t have any doubt that I’ll be fine.”
Ugly outing, Part II
Danks wasn’t the only Sox pitcher struggling.
Left-handed reliever Matt Thornton couldn’t make it through his scheduled inning, allowing six runs, five hits and one walk in two-thirds of an inning.
Ventura called it a good wake-up call.
Thornton managed a smile after his first official Cactus League outing (he pitched one scoreless inning against Team USA on Tuesday).
“I felt awesome,” Thornton said. “I’m just glad we don’t play Arizona in the regular season this year.
“Honestly, the two worst pitches I had were my two outs. The results were terrible, but I got my work in. My breaking ball was good; my changeup was terrible; my fastball location, I thought, was OK. But you can’t worry about the results in spring training.”
Somehow, Thornton found a few positives.
“Physically, I feel awesome,” Thornton said. “This is the best I’ve felt in a long time. Just one of those days. I threw some good breaking balls; that’s what I’ll take from this. Just trying to get the positive out of it. And I’m only 10 minutes from my house right now, so that’s a positive.”
Weather or not
The unusual cold snap in the Phoenix area should prepare the Sox for the first month of the season at home. Ventura said he had no hesitation throwing his pitchers — especially a rehabbing Danks — in the icy conditions (mid-50s Saturday).
“We play in cold weather,” Ventura said, “so they’ve got to get used to it.”
D-BACKS 11, WHITE SOX 9
FOR THE RECORD: The White Sox fell to 6-4-2 after pitchers John Danks (four runs in 21/3 innings) and Matt Thornton (six runs in two-thirds of an inning) got roughed up by the Diamondbacks. Leadoff hitter Adam Eaton led the D-backs, going 4-for-5 with two RBI. Ex-Sox righty Brandon McCarthy started for the D-backs, allowing four runs and seven hits in three innings. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez went 2-for-3 and made several dazzling plays in the field.
HE’S HOT: After lining a single to center in the second inning to make it seven consecutive at-bats with a hit, first baseman Paul Konerko was retired on a sinking liner to center in the third to end his streak. Konerko belted a three-run home run in his next at-bat. Konerko is hitting .750 (9-for-12) with three homers, seven RBI and six runs in his last four games.
BUT HE’S NOT: Top outfield prospect Trayce Thompson went 0-for-1 and remains hitless in 11 Cactus League at-bats.
GIVE ME A B: The Sox fell to the Indians 6-3 in a B game in Goodyear, Ariz. Nestor Molina allowed one hit in three scoreless innings for the Sox.
PROSPECT WATCH: Josh Bell, who’s expected to be the starter at third base for Class AAA Charlotte, served as the designated hitter and belted a two-run homer to right off McCarthy in the second inning. Bell is hitting .500 (6-for-12) with two home runs and seven RBI in nine games.
ON DECK: Split squad — vs. Reds, 3:05 p.m., Johnny Cueto starts against Gavin Floyd, who’s making his first Cactus League appearance. At Mariners, 3:05 p.m., Dylan Axelrod starts vs. Andrew Carraway. Chris De Luca