John Danks didn't know what to expect when he rolled out of bed this morning, a day after throwing 20 pitches in the White Sox bullpen. Those pitches represented a step forward for Danks, who hasn't pitched in the majors since May 19. But the biggest step forward came today, when Danks didn't feel anything out of the ordinary in his left shoulder.
"I kind of had an idea that I'd be sore, certainly that," Danks said Wednesday. "But I don't think it's quite as bad as it's been the last few times I've come off throwing. Hopefully this is sign of improvement and we can go from there."
Head trainer Herm Schneider told Danks his soreness was normal, which is positive for someone who's experienced abnormal soreness following the few steps forward it appeared he made in previous throwing sessions or rehab starts.
"The last couple days have been an improvement," Danks said. "It's definitely something I've needed, and hopefully we don't backtrack from there."
Danks isn't expected back for at least another month. A.J. Pierzynski, however, will be back in the White Sox lineup on Friday when the team opens a three-game series in Texas. The catcher missed Tuesday's game and isn't starting Wednesday due to a minor oblique strain.
"It's one of those, you never know how bad it's going to be," manager Robin Ventura said. "For him, he's a tough guy, he could probably play through it. But again, if he injures it worse, then he'll probably end up on the DL. It's better to be protective of it."
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Not long after the White Sox brought Michael Saunders into the organization, another outfielder with major league experience is joining Triple-A Charlotte.
Alex Presley — a 32-year-old who played 71 games last season for the Detroit Tigers and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers — is the latest addition to the Knights’ outfield. He’s a guy who could potentially be used to help the White Sox outfield, which has seen two Opening Day players go on the disabled list for extended periods of time.
Avisail Garcia is in his fifth week on the DL while dealing with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Nicky Delmonico is expected to miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from a broken bone in his hand. The White Sox might feel that the collection of Adam Engel, Trayce Thompson, Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka might be enough to get them through those injuries. But the results have not been great from that group. Engel and Thompson are both hitting under .200, while Leury Garcia and Palka have on-base percentages just above .300.
Presley, like Saunders, could be an option for a midseason promotion should he hit well in the minors. He hit .314 with a .354 on-base percentage in those 71 games with the Tigers last season. This year, he was playing in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, where he hit .275 with a .347 on-base percentage in 26 games.
It’s possible we won’t see either veteran outfielder on the South Side this season (though having Presley here for Elvis Night would be pretty excellent), but it gives the White Sox options should the lack of production from their current crop of outfielders and the injuries to Avisail Garcia and Delmonico keep them out longer.
It’s also quite possible that none of the names mentioned to this point will have a role to play in this team’s long-term future, not an outlandish thought considering Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford and Luis Alexander Basabe are all still developing in the minor leagues.