Like general manager Rick Hahn did Monday from baseball’s annual winter meetings, Ventura also gushed over his group of starters.
Jake Peavy is back and Chris Sale got some Cy Young consideration, finishing sixth in the balloting. Gavin Floyd is a full-fledged veteran now and Jose Quintana burst upon the scene to show great promise in his rookie season.
When it comes to Danks, though, Ventura won’t force the issue, especially with the left-hander coming off an arthroscopic procedure on his shoulder.
“I think you wait until spring,” Ventura said, when asked what he is expecting from Danks. “I would like to be very cautious with him because he wants to pitch. He’s that kind of kid that having been hurt for the whole year, he wants to pitch as fast as he can. But I think for us knowing what kind of pitcher he is, you have to be careful to make sure he’s 100 percent healthy when he comes back.”
It’s similar to the challenge former manager Ozzie Guillen faced when Peavy returned from surgery, but probably not to the same extent.
Peavy, now one more year removed from his experimental latissimus dorsi surgery and starting a new two-year contract extension, figures to set the veteran tone of the staff.
“You get the depth of starting pitching, his leadership and what he brings to the table has helped a lot of our young guys,” Ventura said. “And we do have quite a few young pitchers that benefited from him being on that staff and helping to prepare. As well as him being a great pitcher, he’s a great leader.”
Getting everything out of the staff, though, figures to depend on how quickly Danks can round back into form.
“We feel confident with the pitching we have,” Ventura said. “You can’t guarantee it, but you like it going into spring training and we feel we have an abundance of arms.”