GLENDALE, Ariz. -- John Danks' velocity wasn't as high in his sixth inning of work as it was in the first during Wednesday's Minor League contest against the Mariners' Triple-A squad at Camelback Ranch. But that dip certainly was understandable, with the southpaw stretching out his pitch count to 96 in the warm Arizona climate.
Danks allowed three earned runs on six hits, including a two-run homer to Ralph Henriquez, while fanning seven and walking one. The afternoon was tiring but a good day's work as he points toward Opening Day in Texas.
"I'm getting there. I'm not where I need to be. A lot closer than I was a couple of weeks ago. I'm on pace," Danks said. "I think I'll be ready. It was a good day today. You know, I went out there and experimented with some different things.
"I was able to do some stuff in that game that I probably wouldn't have done in an "A" game and for sure not in a regular-season game. It was good to go out there and with the hitter in the box and try to work on front-door cutters to a lefty and curveballs early in the count and later in the count.
"Obviously, I didn't throw some pitches I would normally throw in a regular-season game but stuff that I can use when the season comes around," Danks said. "I'm really just trying to get comfortable with it, and that way I have another weapon."
Even Danks' changeup, which had given him trouble this spring, worked for him as a strikeout pitch on three occasions Wednesday.
"It's really just a feel pitch and so I just have to get out there in a game situation and throw it," Danks said. "I was able to throw it in a lot of different counts and got a lot of strikeouts with it and I was able to use the slide step changeups and get some ground balls. All and all, it was a great day."