White Sox

White Sox Danks continues to progress

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White Sox Danks continues to progress

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.

RELATED: White Sox pleased with Danks' recovery

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.

Edwin Encarnación thrills White Sox with homer celebration: 'Do the parrot!'

Edwin Encarnación thrills White Sox with homer celebration: 'Do the parrot!'

To be honest, it wasn't terribly surprising to see Edwin Encarnación blast a home run out to center field during Thursday's intrasquad game at Guaranteed Rate Field.

After all, that's the reason the 37-year-old slugger is here. He's smashed at least 30 homers in each of the last eight seasons, including two spent as a member of the division-rival Cleveland Indians. Rick Hahn inked Encarnación to provide some big-time pop to the middle of a White Sox lineup looking to swing its way out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode in 2020.

But for all the homers he's hit, Encarnación is still drumming up plenty of excitement every time he sends one out. Mostly because of the parrot.

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Encarnación's signature home run celebration involves miming that he has a parrot on his arm while he rounds the bases. It's hilarious and a great deal of baseball fun.

So when he teed off on an Aaron Bummer pitch Thursday, there's just one thing his teammates wanted to see. They started screaming at him from the dugout, "Parrot! Parrot! Do the parrot!"

He obliged, sticking that arm out as he rounded second base, even moving it up and down on the way to third, much to the delight of everyone in that third-base dugout. There wasn't a crowd in the stands, but the crowd in the dugout went wild.

"The parrot made an appearance on the South Side!" White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing said joyously after the intrasquad showdown wrapped.

Coincidentally, Encarnación chatted with the media just one day earlier and was asked about the health of his imaginary feathered friend.

"I think the parrot is still alive, it's still on my elbow," he said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "Hopefully when the season starts, you're going to see it very often."

Well, the season hasn't even started yet, and we've already got a parrot sighting.

Bird or no bird, Encarnación's presence in the middle of the White Sox lineup is extremely important. While the roster around him and fellow veteran slugger Jose Abreu is full of youthful potential and thrilling promise, Encarnacion, one of a slew of veteran additions made by Hahn's front office during the winter, brings reliability to the proceedings. There are plenty of reasons to anticipate big things from Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, Yoán Moncada, Tim Anderson and the rest of the team's young hitters. The White Sox know what they're getting from Encarnación.

After ranking 25th out of 30 teams in both home runs and slugging percentage last season, the White Sox needed some heft. In Encarnación, they've got it.

"It gives us depth. It lengthens an extremely good lineup. It was a good lineup before. It makes it extremely longer," McEwing said. "And the professionalism, Eddie, you can’t put a number on it. You can’t put a measure on it, what he means to this ballclub, not just in the clubhouse but on the field.

"When he steps in the box, it’s a presence, that model of consistency in what he has done throughout his career and what he’s capable of doing. It means so much to every individual in that locker room, and every time we step on the field, it’s a different presence."

RELATED: White Sox pitchers up for any role in short season: 'We want to win'

As for the pitcher who gave the home run up Thursday, don't fret about any damaging effects for Bummer. He's equally thrilled by what this lineup looks like with Encarnación in it.

"I'm just glad he's on our side now," he said of the former division rival. "I'm glad he's on our side, and I'm glad that he got one (off me) when it didn't count.

"It's just kind of fun to watch. ... You see the lineup we're putting out there. I walked in, it was Abreu, Encarnación, Eloy. It's not going to stop. I think the depth of that lineup has gotten a whole lot longer, and I'm glad that they're all on our side."

It's a stark contrast inside the stadium, the difference between the mostly silent moments without fans in the stands and the incredibly entertaining moments when the players start talking and you can hear everything they say. It seems the latter could make for some added fun for TV viewers when the regular-season games are broadcast.

Thursday, there was no missing those screams: "Do the parrot!"

It's a good bet we haven't seen the last of Encarnación's avian acquaintance this year.


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White Sox 2021 schedule is out, with more NL Central matchups

White Sox 2021 schedule is out, with more NL Central matchups

Get used to the NL Central, White Sox fans.

Just days after Major League Baseball finalized the schedule for the upcoming 60-game 2020 season, the schedule for next season was released Thursday, outlining plans for a 2021 season when the league hopes it can return to normalcy.

The geographic scheduling of the 2020 season, shortened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pits the White Sox against teams from the NL Central, and that will again be the case in a 2021 season hopefully unbound by travel restrictions.

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The White Sox will obviously face their AL Central foes and return to regular-season matchups against the AL East and AL West after missing out on such games this season. But the Interleague opponents will once more hail from the NL Central, with the White Sox playing two series apiece against the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. They will play hosts to the St. Louis Cardinals in May and visit the Milwaukee Brewers in July. Both Crosstown series, the first on the North Side and the second on the South Side, will be played on weekends in August.

The White Sox will start the 2021 campaign on a West Coast road trip, with Opening Day set for Thursday, April 1, the start of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. That's followed by three games against the Seattle Mariners in Washington before the White Sox return to Guaranteed Rate Field for the home opener against the Kansas City Royals on April 8.

The regular season will dip into October next year, with the White Sox closing the regular season on a five-game homestand against the Reds and Detroit Tigers, the regular-season finale coming Sunday, October 3.

Check out the White Sox entire 2021 schedule below:


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