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John Danks nearing radar-gun reunion

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While saying he is curious to see a radar gun reading on his fastball, John Danks still hasn’t talked anybody into getting an official reading on the pitch that seemed to abandon him last season upon his return from shoulder surgery.

Danks is content to wait patiently until his Cactus League debut Saturday against the Cleveland Indians to get an updated mph reading. Until then, he feels good about what he can feel and see.

When it comes to his strength, Danks said things are much better than last season when he posted a 4.75 ERA over 22 outings and lost 14 of his 18 decisions.

“I expect it to be there,” Danks said of his fastball. “Everything feels good. The way I was throwing last year, and the way I felt last year, I was able to force 90-91 (mph) out. I think it will be a lot easier to throw that hard.”

Never a velocity guy to begin with, Danks knows that the less he has to force his best fastball, the better it will be for his command. The real reason he wants his top velocity back, though, is obvious.

“In the games when the radar guns are out, when you see a guy in passing you’ll say, ‘What was I throwing?’ Danks said. “But what I’m more concerned about usually is the difference between my changeup and fastball.”

Danks said his issue last season was that while his changeup was as good as it has ever been, it was too similar to the fastball that was more in the high 80-mph range.

Danks had a throwing session Tuesday, but wasn’t quite reaching back with all he had. He will let it go Saturday though and might learn a lot about his offseason work.

“Shoot, I was curious (about velocity) before I got hurt,” he said. “You want to see how hard you’re throwing. It won’t be the tell-all right now, but it will be a good gauge of where I’m at.”