ARLINGTON -- The White Sox changed the plan to get John Danks back to the mound at some point this season, eliminating lots of throwing and long toss, according to pitching coach Don Cooper, and focusing on just getting him ready to throw from 60 feet, 6 inches.
Danks threw 30 pitches off the mound on Friday and will do the same on Monday in Minneapolis after playing catch for the next two days. Even with this plan being enacted to condense the Spring Training routine Danks has to go through after nine weeks of being sidelined by a left shoulder strain, manager Robin Ventura admitted Friday that Danks had to make significant progress soon to have a chance to contribute in 2012.
"It's getting to that point where it's going to have happen pretty fast for him to be able to go down and have a rehab assignment and feel strong enough where he can come in here and pitch," Ventura said. "It's getting closer and closer to that time, and if not, you kind of look toward next year."
"We were thinking maybe late August, maybe early September," Cooper said. "And then, if it's not early September, maybe it's the start of 2013. Nobody really knows. That's going to unfold in front of us, one way or another."
Danks would be willing to work out of the bullpen if he's not stretched out enough to start. But Ventura said that option is not possible for Danks.
"Obviously, it would be ideal if we had longer time to build up arm strength, but we don't have that time," Danks said. "I'm kind of willing to do anything at this point to get back."
Doctors have told Danks that he can't do any further damage to his shoulder by pushing through this plan. Danks admitted the he hoped his shoulder was a little less sore after throwing Tuesday, but he was able to get through Friday's session.
Peavy understands uncertainty of Deadline
ARLINGTON -- The 2009 non-waiver Trade Deadline deal involving Jake Peavy should teach White Sox supporters one thing about general manager Ken Williams: expect the unexpected.
While the pursuit of Zack Greinke, who ended up with the Angels, filled the White Sox rumor mill over the past few days, Williams and his staff probably aren't focusing on a single option in looking for an impact starter. That scenario played out in 2009, when a 4-for-1 deal with the Padres was finalized just minutes before the Deadline.
The deal was fairly shocking to the right-hander, who is working in his fourth and most successful season for the White Sox. The move caught him off guard despite Williams trying to acquire Peavy in May, only to have the veteran hurler invoke his no-trade clause.
"It was a complete surprise. I was woken up from a nap," said Peavy with a laugh when talking about the trade. "I knew I was going to have to be traded, but never thought I would be traded before the Deadline. It was crazy.
"The only reason it was able to happen was we had talked and thought this thing through before I vetoed the first deal. I never vetoed that first deal for any other reason than at that point and time, I wasn't told 100 percent that I had to leave San Diego. That's the place I wanted, and I had my family in. I wanted to stay there if there was any possibility that I could.
"I was expecting to be there for 11 years and it just didn't happen," said Peavy, referring to the remaining years on his contract when he was traded. "It's a crazy, crazy day, especially when you are involved. I feel for the [Ryan] Dempsters and Greinkes because it's not easy to stay focused on the field stuff when your name is coming up and constantly have to answer questions."
That trade predicament is not a worry for Peavy, who is a rotation staple for the American League Central leaders. More than two years removed from surgery to reattach his lat muscle, Peavy has thrown 115, 120, 122 and 121 pitches respectively in his last four starts, with Peavy throwing 125 three starts before in June. But the workload is right where it's supposed to be for Peavy.
While innings might be a concern for first-year starter Chris Sale and rookie Jose Quintana, it's not the case for Peavy.
"Anywhere from 100 to 120 pitches is fine with me. I've showed I can bounce back. I feel fine. That's the barrier we've set," Peavy said. "You become conditioned to that. I don't want to throw it in six innings like I did the last time.
"But getting that one extra inning and saving that bullpen on my day, it's something especially with the way we are monitoring Sale and Quintana. I want to be a veteran presence, take care of myself enough to shoulder the work load for the boys."
Pierzynski to get two more days to heal
ARLINGTON -- A.J. Pierzynski missed the last two games with a mild right oblique strain, causing a rare bout of inactivity for the durable White Sox catcher. That absence could reach four games with Tyler Flowers starting Friday against the Rangers and Pierzynski looking as if he'll get one more day on Saturday to let the injury recover.
Pierzynski could have played in Friday's series opener, as he's really only bothered when swinging the bat. But the White Sox decided to be cautious with one of their most valuable contributors.
"From where it was three days ago, it's 100 times better," Pierzynski said. "We came to the decision, talking to [manager] Robin [Ventura] and talking to [head athletic trainer Herm Schneider], that I could play tonight.
"I'm available to play tonight. But we'd just rather, with the heat here and with everything that is going on, give it another day or two. That way I'll be a lot closer to 100 percent if it responds the way it has over the last three days. We'll have no issues. They just don't want to take the chance of having something happen and hurting it worse and being out for a couple of weeks."
According to Pierzynski, taking early batting practice Friday was the final hurdle he had to clear to come back.
"I can catch fine. I can throw fine. I did a full workout today. It's fine," Pierzynski said. "Literally, the only time I feel it is when I swing. It's not unmanageable, it's not unbearable. We're playing it safe than sorry and get better than continue to push it and have something crazy happen."
"We have two months left," Ventura said. "We don't want to lose him for two weeks."
Youkilis considering Team Israel for Classic
ARLINGTON -- White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who is of Jewish heritage, has been approached to play for Team Israel in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. If Team Israel advances out of the mid-September qualifying round, the member of Team USA in 2009 would consider the option.
"I'd be willing to try it out if healthy and all that going into Spring Training," Youkilis said. "And if I'm ready to play, I'll play.
"A lot of guys are going to be American guys who are going to play on the Israel team but just through history and religion, they might choose to play. Like Ryan [Braun] and I got to play for Team USA and we had that opportunity. So it was very cool, but it also would be cool to have another challenge in life."
Third to first
Manager Robin Ventura listed Eduardo Escobar as his team's third catcher. He's also the fifth outfielder and the team's 13th pitcher.
Third baseman Brent Morel has been moved to Triple-A Charlotte to continue his injury rehab assignment for a lumbar back strain. Morel hit .227 with four doubles and two RBIs over seven games for Class A Winston-Salem. Kevin Youkilis is batting .438 with four walks, three homers and eight RBIs in four games against the Rangers since joining the White Sox.
Adam Dunn picked up his second stolen base of the season and scored a valuable insurance run during the seventh inning of Friday's 9-5 victory over the Rangers.
"I saw that they weren't holding me on," Dunn said. "It made my decision to go pretty easy."