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Danks hopes to head out on rehab assignment soon

CHICAGO -- John Danks made an appearance in Chicago on Sunday, after throwing six innings during an extended spring start Saturday in Arizona.

The left-hander continues his rehab process from Aug. 6 arthroscopic season-ending shoulder surgery, with a focus on increased velocity, arm strength and better pitchability. His rehab work could take another big step forward Monday, when Danks meets with general manager Rick Hahn and White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, among others, to discuss his situation.

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Danks hopes that the group decision is to send him out on a Minor League stint, where he can get closer to game action and closer to a return to the White Sox.

"I'm ready to go throw somewhere, and I'll tell them that tomorrow," an upbeat Danks said prior to Sunday's contest with the Twins. "I've done everything I can do in Arizona, and I'm ready to get into a real game atmosphere.

"I don't want to be back until I know I can help the team. It'd be selfish of me to go out there just because I'm physically able to do it. I don't feel like I'm real far off, but it's not my decision to make."

Hahn talked Saturday about the Danks' reports being positive, with the left-hander not only climbing velocity-wise, but also being able to throw all of his bullpen sessions and do all of his exercises between starts. Danks supported that assessment Sunday, describing a noticeable difference from this visit to Chicago in comparison to how he felt back when he was with the team on Opening Day.

"In Spring Training, I was able to play catch and do what you kind of have to do, but it didn't feel great playing catch," Danks said. "The last few starts, it's felt great between starts. I think that's a good sign.

"Everything's on an upswing right now. It's been a lot of peaks and valleys."

Getting his velocity consistently to the 88-91 mph range stands as a target for Danks, needing that speed differential between his fastball and changeup, as an example. Most of all, though, Danks has to be completely healthy and be able to make his pitches to get back to the big leagues as soon as he possibly can.

"We were being real aggressive with the start of the season and trying to be back, and mostly that was my doing. I don't like sitting out," Danks said. "I'm not caught off guard. We watched Jake [Peavy] go through this a couple years ago where he looked like he'd be ready and needed a little extra time, and things have worked out pretty good for him.

"[Pitching coach Don Cooper] and I have talked. There was a time where I was able just to rare back and try my luck. I'm going to have to learn how to pitch now. Hopefully, everything will come back and I'll have the same arm strength and I'll be able to pitch with some good stuff."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

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