2/20/2013 6:39 P.M. ET
Danks impresses during live batting practice
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Trayce Thompson has never done any work as a pitching coach during his short professional career. But the young outfielder certainly can pick out a pitcher with good stuff, and John Danks fell into that category during Wednesday's modified live batting practices that were moved to a covered batting cage because of rain.
The 21-year-old Thompson, ranked second by MLB.com among White Sox prospects, was one of the hitters to face the rehabbing left-handed starter.
"He looks really good," Thompson said. "He had trouble with his fastball later, but I'm sure he's getting a little tired. And it's tough to throw in that cage. He was really locating all his pitches and his cutter looked really good, his curve ball, fastball had a lot of life."
Danks threw around 55 pitches in his third trip to the mound as part of his ongoing comeback program following surgery on his left shoulder last August. He will follow up Wednesday's effort with live BP on Saturday and Tuesday, then a bullpen session on Friday.
That schedule sets him up for a Cactus League debut on March 4 against the Giants, with each effort giving him more confidence toward that date.
"[Pitching coach Don Cooper] just told me I'm exactly where he wants me," Danks said. "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.
"I know it's advantage pitcher today in the cage, so you're not going to get a true read on guys reacting to the ball. If I can pitch in a cage every game, I think I'll be all right. It's good to go out there and get all the work in and I actually get to throw with the hitter standing in the box."
Josh Phegley caught Danks Wednesday, after Tyler Flowers caught his first bullpen. Flowers said after session No. 1 that Danks' velocity was a tick down, but it's the nature of Spring Training, even for a fully healthy hurler.
"Even if I was 100 percent healthy, I don't worry about velocity," Danks said. "I don't worry about that until toward the end of the camp. I know it will come with arm strength. And throwing every day, it will all come, so I'm not worried."
Triceps soreness keeps Thornton on sideline
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The triceps soreness felt by left-handed reliever Matt Thornton has kept him off the mound for the past two days, and he will be inactive again Thursday.
Those moves currently are viewed as precautionary measures, especially by the 36-year-old Thornton, who confidently played down the issue when questioned by the media on Wednesday.
"I'm not worried about it at all, not one bit. We have time to back off a little bit," Thornton said. "There's no reason to throw through discomfort on Feb. 19.
"I trust [White Sox athletic trainer] Hermie [Schneider] to get me ready and there will be no problem. I'll be throwing in a couple of days here."
In late August 2010, Thornton was placed on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, but the veteran hurler said this setback is nothing compared to that one. He had an MRI that showed nothing more than inflammation in the triceps/back of the elbow area.
"It's just achy, balky, whatever you want to call it," Thornton said. "Just more than likely the process of throwing every day for a week and adding the intensity, live BP, cutting it loose a little bit. Like I said, it's something we can get under control and it won't be a problem the rest of the year."
Manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper also don't seem to be worried about Thornton's soreness, but there's always some level of concern when a player experiences discomfort. It's especially true for a valuable bullpen component such as Thornton, who has appeared in at least 61 games in each of the past seven seasons.
"He's pitched a lot," Ventura said. "We'll make sure we treat him and take care of it ... having the time we have here to just be patient with him."
"He felt it a little bit in the offseason, that's what he told me," Cooper said. "He said he felt it a little bit when he was playing long toss. He hadn't been off of a mound at all. So his first mound work was here. He hasn't been doing that much. He hasn't had a heavy workload. So, it's something we want to nip in the bud."
Because of his number of innings and pitches over the past seven years and the extended Spring Training, the White Sox already built in extra time between appearances for Thornton, and he wasn't scheduled to pitch in a Cactus League game until the first week of March. The extra days in Arizona benefit Thornton's setback, much as they will assist John Danks' ongoing rehab program.
"Certainly that will help John Danks, an injured guy," Cooper said. "Now, with Matt having a little discomfort, that will certainly help him."
"Yes, it was a process of we were going to take it easy anyways and ease into things, knowing we had plenty of time to get ready," Thornton said. "We have plenty of time not to worry about it."
Dunn proved a natural on the big screen
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Of the names Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn and Adam Dunn, which one doesn't belong? Well, if you are talking hitting home runs, Dunn is in a class by himself among this group of actors.
But thanks to a January foray into the movie business, the left-handed hitting slugger can take his place alongside these big screen stars. Dunn played a bartender in a new movie called "Dallas Buyers Club," in which McConaughey lost large sums of weight to play Ron Woodroof, the main character in the true-life tale of the Dallas man's fight for survival after being diagnosed with AIDS in 1986.
Dunn got involved with the project through his friend Joe Newcomb, who throws offseason batting practice to Dunn and rose as high as Double-A as a pitcher in the Blue Jays system. Newcomb is listed as one of the executive producers on this film, scheduled to be released sometime in 2013.
"I didn't realize how much work goes into a production like that," said Dunn, who filmed his speaking part for two days in New Orleans. "It was cool. It was fun. Those guys put in some long days.
"My buddy started it. He's ate up with it. He's the kind of guy who's not going to half-do anything. He's going to do it right. It's probably going to look pretty awesome. We took like 20-something takes each time. I haven't seen the final product, so keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully I made it."
Of the 50 characters listed for the movie in the IMDB.com database, including air traveler and rodeo spectator, Dunn's name has not been included. Even if he is somehow left on the cutting room floor, Dunn was impressed by the craft of film making.
"To see those guys in action, that was probably the coolest part of it," Dunn said. "To see how intense, how in character they are 24-7. To be a good actor, I guess that's what it takes so I'll never be a good actor."
Third to first
• Andre Rienzo has been set up to get the Game 1 start for Team Brazil on March 2 against Japan in the Pool A first round of the World Baseball Classic, to be played in Fukuoka, Japan.
"I'm glad Barry Larkin put me in that first game," said Rienzo of the Hall of Fame manager for Team Brazil. "It's pretty exciting. I'm just hoping to help Team Brazil."
• The White Sox will play a 4 1/2-inning intrasquad game on Thursday.
"I'd rather them get out and play a little bit before we actually play in a real game to set the mind right," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
• Chris Sale also threw live batting practice Wednesday in the covered batting cage.