Danks hit hard by Trout in third spring start

Mike Trout had one home run and just missed another against John Danks on Thursday. AP Photo/Chris Carlson

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Facing arguably the toughest lineup in baseball, Chicago White Sox starter John Danks was presented with his greatest challenge Thursday since returning to the mound this spring.

Danks' third start of spring training was against a Los Angeles Angels lineup that featured Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton. Danks, who is recovering from August shoulder surgery, allowed five earned runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.

"I need to get going a little more," Danks said. "Some of these other guys can just go out there and get their work in. I am hoping to see progress every time. I don't feel like I can do that unless I am facing big-league hitters. Without a doubt that is one of the better lineups you will see this year. Wish it could have gone a little better."

Trout got to Danks early, hitting a long home run leading off the first inning. He had trouble with Trout again in the third inning when the reigning AL Rookie of the Year missed another home run by inches, lining a ball of off the top of the left field fence.

"He hit a changeup the first time and a fastball the second at-bat," Danks said.

Coming into his start on Thursday, Danks had allowed four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings over his two previous starts.

"My velocity is not where it is going to be when everything is said and done," Danks said. "If I can locate a little better than I did today I should be alright."

With just two weeks before Opening Day, Danks is not sure if he will be ready to take a start in early April.

"I think so and I have not heard any different or otherwise," Danks said. "The doctor said there is not anything else I can do. We are at the mercy of my shoulder. Hopefully we will see some better results next time."

With two off days in the first eight days of the season, the Sox could skip a starter and that scenario could allow Danks to get a minor-league start in before returning to the regular rotation.