2/12/2013 1:10 A.M. ET
Danks, Flowers enter camp as key players for Sox
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox pitchers and catchers are scheduled to arrive at Camelback Ranch sometime around 11 a.m. CT on Tuesday for physicals and their first workout of Spring Training 2013.
Jake Peavy will garner a major share of immediate attention, after the right-handed hurler passed on free agency in the offseason and returned via a two-year, $29 million deal.
Chris Sale also should be a person of interest, coming off a Cy Young-caliber debut in the starting rotation that included a single-season career high in innings pitched. And the hard-throwing right-handed bullpen tandem of Addison Reed and Nate Jones will be questioned as to whether it can meet the lofty expectations forged as rookies in 2012.
But no one reporting today will hold greater importance to Robin Ventura's second year as manager than left-handed starter John Danks and catcher Tyler Flowers. A year ago in Glendale, Danks began his work at the top of the White Sox rotation courtesy of Mark Buehrle's departure via free agency and Danks' offseason agreement with the White Sox on a five-year, $65 million deal.
The hope for Danks is to be ready by the start of the regular season, or somewhere close to it, after his previous campaign came to an end following nine starts due to Aug. 6 arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Danks hit all of his offseason rehab goals, but with Spring Training games beginning on Feb. 23, when the White Sox will play the Dodgers, Danks soon will be facing hitters and taking the rehab up another notch.
"My goal right now is to be ready on day one of Spring Training," said Danks when asked about his progress during SoxFest. "I know they are going to have special stuff for me to do. I want to show up and not have a special throwing program. I want to be the guy to go play catch and get ready for [throwing in] the bullpen.
"Whether or not they will let me do that, I don't know. I doubt it. I'm working with day one of Spring Training in mind."
The development of the 27-year-old Flowers as the new White Sox starter behind the plate is essential, especially with the team having a pitching staff that has a chance to be elite. But as much as Flowers' showing will be closely followed, the absence of A.J. Pierzynski will be just as noticeable come Tuesday.
Pierzynski will be training with the Rangers in Surprise, Ariz., after eight years as a White Sox mainstay. Matt Lindstrom, one of the White Sox new additions, begins his bullpen tenure on Tuesday, with fellow newcomer Jeff Keppinger due to report with other position players on Sunday.
All of them will be working toward the regular-season opener, taking place on April 1 at home against the Royals.