NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider made a trip to Austin, Texas, within the past 10 days to check in on John Danks and his rehab program following arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Aug. 6. According to general manager Rick Hahn, the ensuing update was a positive one.
"Hermie said that John is progressing well and on target with his throwing program and everything remains cautiously optimistic as we head into Spring Training," said Hahn. "He's playing catch. But Herm and [White Sox pitching coach] Don Cooper have mapped out every day of his offseason leading up to Spring Training."
According to comments Danks made back in early November, that path ideally will have him throwing off the mound at the start of 2013. Getting Danks back in healthy form represents one of the reasons why Hahn believes the White Sox can challenge the Tigers for the American League Central crown despite Detroit bringing in Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez's return.
"We have to be aware of what we're chasing. It certainly factors into the team we want to build," Hahn said. "We can't look at ourselves and say, as we look around our room and talk to our scouts and coaches and look at our clubs and say maybe we're an 80-82 win team. We can't think in good faith that's going to capture the Tigers, given what they've accomplished and the players they've added.
"Fortunately, we don't look at ourselves that way. We like our team. We like the fact we're bringing back Jake Peavy. We like the fact Chris Sale will be a year deeper into his career. Our bullpen will have experience under its belt from last year. We'll add our Opening Day starter from last year who really didn't factor in much from last year. But we still have some areas we need to improve to compete with the Tigers."