"I'm not worried about it at all, not one bit. We have time to back off a little bit," Thornton said. "There's no reason to throw through discomfort on Feb. 19.
"I trust [White Sox athletic trainer] Hermie [Schneider] to get me ready and there will be no problem. I'll be throwing in a couple of days here."
In late August 2010, Thornton was placed on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, but the veteran hurler said this setback is nothing compared to that one. He had an MRI that showed nothing more than inflammation in the triceps/back of the elbow area.
"It's just achy, balky, whatever you want to call it," Thornton said. "Just more than likely the process of throwing every day for a week and adding the intensity, live BP, cutting it loose a little bit. Like I said, it's something we can get under control and it won't be a problem the rest of the year."
Manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper also don't seem to be worried about Thornton's soreness, but there's always some level of concern when a player experiences discomfort. It's especially true for a valuable bullpen component such as Thornton, who has appeared in at least 61 games in each of the past seven seasons.
"He's pitched a lot," Ventura said. "We'll make sure we treat him and take care of it ... having the time we have here to just be patient with him."
"He felt it a little bit in the offseason, that's what he told me," Cooper said. "He said he felt it a little bit when he was playing long toss. He hadn't been off of a mound at all. So his first mound work was here. He hasn't been doing that much. He hasn't had a heavy workload. So, it's something we want to nip in the bud."
Because of his number of innings and pitches over the past seven years and the extended Spring Training, the White Sox already built in extra time between appearances for Thornton, and he wasn't scheduled to pitch in a Cactus League game until the first week of March. The extra days in Arizona benefit Thornton's setback, much as they will assist John Danks' ongoing rehab program.
"Certainly that will help John Danks, an injured guy," Cooper said. "Now, with Matt having a little discomfort, that will certainly help him."
"Yes, it was a process of we were going to take it easy anyways and ease into things, knowing we had plenty of time to get ready," Thornton said. "We have plenty of time not to worry about it."