The 2012 Chicago White Sox were an amazing team last season. Not that they made the playoffs, but they hung around the race for a LONG TIME into September before coming up short against the Detroit Tigers. Their run and success shocked the baseball world.
If I would have told White Sox fans that John Danks would have missed more than half the season, none would have expected anything even close to this success. Danks tried to fight through a painful shoulder last season before succumbing to the injury and having surgery. Last Friday, Danks threw a bullpen session and is reporting that he felt well after it. His biggest challenge was pain the next day after starts. He reported no pain after his initial session.
While there’s no specific timetable on his return, manager Robin Ventura is suggesting that Danks may break camp with the team. It is possible to carry Danks and limit his starts through April and May while allowing him to build up his strength and endurance. The more realistic scenario is Danks starting the year on the DL, remaining in Arizona for extended spring training and returning to the White Sox when the weather warms up.
If the White Sox have any hopes of contending in 2013, Danks has to contribute. From 2008-10, Danks was one of the American League‘s better left-handed hurlers. While his consistency fell off the last two seasons, this can be equated to his bum shoulder. If he is able to return to form, the White Sox should have one of the AL’s better rotations.
But before we all hold the optimistic hand, shoulder injuries are the most difficult one’s for pitchers. Coming back from even the most-minor of surgeries is a challenge. Just ask former Chicago Cubs hurler Mark Prior.