Recovering Danks clears mental hurdle

John Danks took another step Wednesday in his recovery from shoulder surgery. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks got in his third throwing session of the spring Wednesday, doing it in the covered batting cage because of inclement weather.

Despite the tight quarters, Danks still faced hitters in the batting cage throwing an estimated 55 pitches as he continued his recovery from shoulder surgery last summer.

After his last throwing session earlier in the week, Danks expressed a desire to be further along in his rehab program since his goal is to start the season on time without any delays. Pitching coach Don Cooper is understanding to Danks, but has no intention to stray from the original plan.

"Coop just told me I'm exactly where he wants me," Danks said. "I don't know what that means. I take that as I'm doing everything they want me to do, but I think I'm on pace to be ready to go. Like I've said all along, it's not my decision, but things are coming along great."

After easing off a bit in his first throwing session of the spring, Danks said he is now using his full arm strength while throwing pitches. He said he probably isn't at maximum velocity, though, because that comes with added arm strength that he will continue to develop in camp.

"As far as health, I'll throw as hard as I want," Danks said. "And I've been cleared by the doctors, and I'm passed that mental block of cutting it loose. I feel like we're at that point now where you want arm strength. We can start working on pitching rather than try to get back healthy."

Danks is on schedule to make his Cactus League debut March 4 in a home game against the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

"We're patient with that because even when games start you want to throw guys in there and see what they can do, but you realize how long we're going to be here, and it's just about being patient with him," manager Robin Ventura said, alluding to the lengthy spring training this season because of the World Baseball Classic. "He wants to get out there too. I'm sure he's really tired of doing all the work and not being able to go out there and see the results against different people."