No guarantees as Danks progresses

A healthy John Danks will be key for the White Sox this season. Rob Grabowski/US Presswire

CHICAGO -- While Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks is progressing on schedule with his throwing program this winter, the club still is not saying the left-hander is a lock for the Opening Day roster.

General manager Rick Hahn cautioned Monday, though, that even if Danks doesn't break camp with the club this spring, it doesn't mean there has been a setback.

"These are broad targets when they are laid out and you have to respond to how the player feels and how his body reacts," Hahn said. "Being on the roster by Opening Day is the target, but if we have to push that back a few weeks to err on the side of caution, that is what we will do."

Danks had surgery last season to repair a shoulder strain. A healthy return is vital for a club that feels its pitching will be the best way to combat a talented Detroit Tigers club that adds Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez this season.

Danks will also head into the season as the highest paid player on the roster at $15.75 million, ahead of guys like Adam Dunn ($15 million), Jake Peavy ($14.5 million), Paul Konerko ($13.5 million) and Alex Rios ($13 million).

Danks figures to be examined again by team doctors, as well as trainer Herm Schneider, when he is in town later this month for SoxFest.

"Everything is progressing nicely and remains on target with the rehab plan that Herm, our doctors and (pitching coach Don Cooper) put together for him," Hahn said.