Danks' rehab on to next stage

CHICAGO -- Although he didn’t know the details, John Danks still got the word he had been waiting to hear.

After nearly a month of pitching at extended spring training, the rehabbing Danks will make his next outing in a minor league game.

Danks still doesn’t know if he will be going to Double-A Birmingham or Triple-A Charlotte later this week, but simply knowing a change of pace is coming managed to lift his spirits.

“Obviously, in the scheme of things it has to be done on the field, but to graduate from Arizona [extended spring training] and get to move on, that's a good thing,” Danks said.

The left-hander had shoulder surgery Aug. 6 and hasn’t pitched in a major league game since May 19 of last year. He pitched in spring training, albeit on a cautious schedule, and started the season on the disabled list.

With Gavin Floyd now on the disabled list, Danks admitted to some extra incentive to finish up his rehab and rejoin the rotation. But if he had it his way, he would have started the season with the club despite lower velocity than he is accustomed to.

As it is, he might never reach the 94 mph range with his fastball and will have to learn the craftier side of pitching. He has said he is willing to make those adjustments.

“That was hard to watch,” Danks said about seeing Floyd leave his Saturday start early. “I don't know the extent of his injury, but we all hope he is OK. That's actually what I said [Saturday] when it happened: ‘I'm ready. I'm ready to get back out there.’ Maybe that'll move the process along a little quicker, I don't know. As far as my recovery goes, I'm on the right path.”

Calling the pace of an extended spring outing a “high-school scrimmage,” Danks just wants to get in a real game-setting again with fans in the seats, vendors walking the aisles and the smell of grilled meats in the air.

“There's going to be a couple people there and it's actually run as a game,” Danks said. “That's the big thing … It'll be fun to get out there and pitch in an atmosphere.”