White Sox

Uncertainty surrounding John Danks

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Uncertainty surrounding John Danks

KANSAS CITY -- John Danks is still uncertain when hell next see the mound and admits his season could be in jeopardy.

Even though he hasnt played catch in nearly a week, Danks --- who is on the disabled list retroactive to May 20 with a left shoulder injury --- said Friday he expects to throw again in the near future. But even then he doesnt know what to anticipate.

As the summer creeps further along, Danks realizes its possible he might not pitch again this season.

That idea and the quest to fill his time has Danks, who signed a five-year, 65-million extension in December, going stir crazy.

Im losing my mind, Danks said. I guess us playing well, at least theres something to look forward to when you come to the ballpark every day. For me personally, it has been long and boring. Im losing my mind. I really am. I want to be out there. Im not enjoying this, but it is what it is. Its part of the game and I have to deal with it.

The team had hoped Danks would return to the rotation by mid-to-late July. Danks said on Friday, however, hes not to the point where hes ready to go out and push it yet. He also has no rehab assignment yet on the schedule.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura reiterated the team would love to have Danks back, but will plan accordingly.

Right now the way I look at it, I hope hes coming back, but you have to prepare for the worst, Ventura said. And keep going. Im hoping Im wrong.

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said on WSCR-670 AM on Thursday Danks isnt currently on his radar because theres no timetable for the left-handers return.

Danks said he couldnt disagree with the statement because of his health.

Thats where we are at right now, Danks said. We dont know. We all expected to be back well before today. So it is what it is. We are doing everything we know to do to get back. Its just we are at the mercy of my shoulder like weve been saying this whole time.

Danks is 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in nine starts this season. His healthy return would seriously bolster the White Sox chances of making the postseason. If Danks is unable to return, the White Sox may need to add a starting pitcher before the trade deadline because its rotation features two first-year starters (Jose Quintana and Chris Sale) and Jake Peavy, who has battled shoulder issues the past two seasons.

It is progressing, Danks said. Everything looks like its healing the way we want it to, just not as quick as we wanted it to or thought it would. We have to deal with it.

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.