How John Danks has recovered thus far has White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper feeling optimistic about the 2012 opening day starters future.
Danks has thrown off the mound three times a week since Jan. 2 and Cooper confirmed the left-hander has rebounded well. Danks is five months removed from surgery to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in the rotator cuff and biceps. Cooper said he and trainer Herm Schneider were set to speak Tuesday night to map out the rest of Danks schedule before the team arrives at spring training.
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White Sox pitchers and catchers report and the team holds its first workout on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Ariz.
Hes coming along well, Cooper said. Hes having normal ups and downs. Thats to be expected. Now hes having more ups than downs.
Schneider confirmed Danks has thrown 40 pitches per session since he began to throw off a mound. Danks, who had surgery on Aug. 6, has been ahead of schedule all along as he earlier began his long-toss program days ahead of the planned Nov. 1 start date.
After he was limited to nine starts in 2012 because of injury, Danks, who signed a five-year, 65-million contract extension in December 2011, wants to rebound. Danks went 3-4 with 5.70 ERA last season.
The White Sox have set no deadline for Danks return but are confident in their process, Cooper said.
You never know, but weve got a pretty good history, Cooper said. Weve got a great trainer. Things seem to be going well.
The White Sox would love if things continued to progress on the same path and they get some semblance of the pitcher who was not only dependable from 2008-10, but highly successful.
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Last season the White Sox were forced to mix and match starting pitchers down the stretch in the absence of Danks, who worked tirelessly to return but didnt pitch in the majors after May. Danks was 40-31 with a 3.61 ERA and averaged nearly 203 innings a season from 2008-10.
Though he cautioned theres work to be done, Cooper said hes positive about where Danks is with less than a month before spring training.
Im walking into it pretty optimistic John will be fine, Cooper said. But theres a process and were far from finished.