ARLINGTON -- The White Sox changed the plan to get John Danks back to the mound at some point this season, eliminating lots of throwing and long toss, according to pitching coach Don Cooper, and focusing on just getting him ready to throw from 60 feet, 6 inches.
Danks threw 30 pitches off the mound on Friday and will do the same on Monday in Minneapolis after playing catch for the next two days. Even with this plan being enacted to condense the Spring Training routine Danks has to go through after nine weeks of being sidelined by a left shoulder strain, manager Robin Ventura admitted Friday that Danks had to make significant progress soon to have a chance to contribute in 2012.
"It's getting to that point where it's going to have happen pretty fast for him to be able to go down and have a rehab assignment and feel strong enough where he can come in here and pitch," Ventura said. "It's getting closer and closer to that time, and if not, you kind of look toward next year."
"We were thinking maybe late August, maybe early September," Cooper said. "And then, if it's not early September, maybe it's the start of 2013. Nobody really knows. That's going to unfold in front of us, one way or another."
Danks would be willing to work out of the bullpen if he's not stretched out enough to start. But Ventura said that option is not possible for Danks.
"Obviously, it would be ideal if we had longer time to build up arm strength, but we don't have that time," Danks said. "I'm kind of willing to do anything at this point to get back."
Doctors have told Danks that he can't do any further damage to his shoulder by pushing through this plan. Danks admitted the he hoped his shoulder was a little less sore after throwing Tuesday, but he was able to get through Friday's session.