Danks continues to struggle with velocity

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The road back to a major league mound appears unstable at best for Chicago White Sox starter John Danks.

The left-hander had another rough outing on Sunday against Sox minor leaguers. Danks, who is coming off of shoulder surgery last August, still has velocity issues. Topping out at 86 mph with his fastball, Danks had trouble putting away hitters with two strikes. He allowed four home runs, two coming in the fourth inning, which he failed to get out of.

Danks will start the season on the disabled list, but the frustrating part of the process is that the pitcher is not really hurt.

“I am just getting work in,” he said. “This is just a part of the process of working up arm strength and trying to make pitches do what you want them to do.”

It has not been determined where Danks will pitch when the team breaks camp on Wednesday. He threw 66 pitches on Sunday, once again having better command of his breaking ball than his hard stuff.

“(Velocity) will come,” Danks said. “The good thing is that I keep getting out there every five days. I feel like I am making strides to get where I want to be.”

Although the Sox have not made it official, right-hander Dylan Axelrod will pitch in the fifth starter’s spot that Danks is presently vacating. Axelrod pitched against Danks in the morning minor-league game.

“I got some good work in today,” Axelrod said. “I got 62 pitches in on one day’s short rest. It was a good workload for me and I felt strong all the way through.”

The only other option for the Sox rotation at this juncture is Hector Santiago. The team would prefer to use Santiago as a long man to save the team’s other left-handers for exact roles. Donnie Veale is a situation specialist against lefty hitters. Matt Thornton sets up closer Addison Reed from the left side.

Barring a trade for a starting pitcher, Axelrod is penciled in to his first 2013 start April 6 against Seattle at U.S. Cellular Field.