White Sox

Sick bay: Danks on track for at least one rehab start

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Sick bay: Danks on track for at least one rehab start

John Danks threw a side session prior to Saturday's matchup with Houston that went well, according to White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.

The lefty, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder soreness May 24 and hasn't started since May 19, is slated to make a rehab start with Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday in Columbus.

"Things seem to be going well," Cooper said. "Head trainer Herm Schneider got him on the mend, and now it's getting him back into pitching shape and now he's going to get out and throw in a game."

The Sox had Danks go through a game routine on Wednesday, having him warm up and throw two innings in the bullpen. He cleared that hurdle and the one on Saturday, so the next step is at least one rehab start in the minors. Both Cooper and Robin Ventura said that could be extended to two starts in the minors before he returns.

Brent Morel's status is less clear. The third baseman pulled himself out of a minor league game on Thursday after re-aggravating his back injury and was in Chicago yesterday for further tests. Ventura is hopeful the Sox can finally get to the bottom of Morel's back issues with this latest round of examinations.

Ventura added there's no chance Dayan Viciedo will be moved back to third base any time soon, noting the Sox have options at the hot corner. It doesn't help that Viciedo himself is in the infirmary with a pair of tight hamstrings.

Viciedo says he's ready to pinch-hit on Saturday, although Ventura would rather give him the day off after he pulled himself out of Friday's game.

"We got a long way to go, and I don't want to push it for him to go out there," Ventura said, adding that it's a nice chance for Jordan Danks to get a start. "If a guy feels he needs to pull himself out, I don't necessarily want to put him right back in there the next night if he feels it's bad enough to come out the night before."

Viciedo similarly doesn't want to take the chance of aggravating his injury further.

"Theres one thats tighter than other," Viciedo said through a translator, noting his left hamstring is the tighter of the two. "They both are tight, but its something that Im working through it right now, just being cautious. Its something that I dont want to risk anything."

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.