Velocity not on Danks' mind in early outings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Factoring in Saturday's light side session, John Danks completed the first part of his Spring Training rehab work in coming back from Aug. 6 arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. That work included two bullpen sessions and three live batting-practice sessions, pushing toward Monday's Cactus League debut at home against the Giants, against whom Danks will throw two innings.

It did not include any looks at the radar gun, which rarely matters in the early going of Spring Training, as pitchers are stretching out and building arm strength. While Danks will have a better idea of where he stands velocity-wise on Monday, he still has other priorities ahead of speed in his road back.

"Velocity, the way [pitching coach Don Cooper] is always preaching it to us, that's the third most important thing," said Danks after his Saturday morning bullpen session. "He wants us to be able to throw the ball where we want to and make the ball move the way we want to before we worry about velocity.

"There might be some trying to learn how to pitch with a little less on the fastball at least early. I anticipate it coming back to normal eventually."

Danks hasn't pitched in any sort of game since throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings in beating the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 19, 2012. A healthy Danks is excited to be getting back on the mound, but he also is excited with the progress made this spring.

"Now, it's just being able to get the ball to do what I want it to do," Danks said. "That's coming. We still have a little ways to go.

"It's fun to get back in the game situation and just have a little, I don't know, just being excited to be back out there and trying to get other guys out. Monday it's going to be about just trying to get outs."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.