Danks has come a long way in one year

Danks has come a long way in one year

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was March 19, 2013, when John Danks' comeback from season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery the previous August took a major detour. He allowed 10 runs on 11 hits over 3 1/3 innings, walking two and not striking out a Reds hitter in Goodyear, leading the White Sox to keep him in extended camp at the season's outset.

Truly, what a difference a year makes in Danks' case.

"I pitched a little better against them today," said Danks with a smile.

Danks threw 102 pitches and allowed just one earned run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings, fanning five and walking one, on Wednesday during a 9-5 victory over the Reds. It was a strong finish to a strong Spring Training that has the White Sox and their hurler hoping he can be a major boost to the team's 2014 success.

"A lot closer to where I was than where I've been the last couple of years," Danks said. "I feel like I can be a lot more aggressive with it. I really learned how to use a curveball last year, so I'm going to use that.

"Obviously, you never want to be down 3-0, 2-1. But I feel like I can reach back or throw a cutter and get a chance to get an out."

That cutter's return, coupled with an uptick in velocity, has Danks targeting a return to the pitcher who threw at least 200 innings in 2009 and 2010 and had an ERA below 3.80.

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.