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Saturday, March 1, 2014
John Danks heads under cover

By Doug Padilla

After rain forced the cancellation of the Chicago White Sox's Cactus League game Saturday against the Cleveland Indians, John Danks was among a handful of pitchers who went to an alternate plan.

Danks, Chris Beck, Eric Surkamp and Dylan Axelrod all threw simulated outings in a covered batting cage outside of the White Sox’s clubhouse.

"Everybody else that was scheduled to pitch in the game will have a sideline today and then probably re-emerge on the third to pitch in games," pitching coach Don Cooper told reporters Saturday. "We’ll just back up some of the bullpen guys. We’ll get the work in for the guys who need to get in the work today: Beck, Surkamp, Axelrod and Danks."


For Danks, he missed out on his first start of the spring that not only would have allowed him to face batters again, but to get a radar gun reading on his fastball. The left-hander said he feels stronger after an offseason of rest following his 2012 shoulder surgery.

After early camp workouts, indications are that Danks’ velocity is only slightly better than it was last season, but a real-game situation will be more telling. That wait for a game will continue until Thursday when he is next scheduled to see action.

No matter his radar-gun reading, the key to Danks’ success could be his ability to widen the gap between his fastball velocity and his changeup velocity.

“There were obviously times I didn’t locate the changeup well and it got hit but I feel like that was a pitch that was probably the furthest along last year,” Danks said this week. “I just didn’t have anything to change it up off of. The fastball wasn’t as sharp and certainly the cutter wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I think it will be there.”