5/27/2014 9:27 P.M. ET
Better preparation key to Danks' revival
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The question has been asked numerous times since Spring Training began as to what sort of pitcher John Danks will top out at now that he is approaching two years removed from season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery in August 2012.
Will the southpaw look virtually unhittable, as he did over eight scoreless innings Saturday against the Yankees, or will he be closer to the pitcher who couldn't escape mistakes in his previous 4 2/3-inning, seven-run outing against the Astros? Maybe he'll check in somewhere in between, in the middle of the White Sox rotation behind Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
That discussion seems to have reached everyone but the 29-year-old hurler.
"My job is to take the ball every fifth day and give us a chance to win," Danks said. "Hopefully, that's the guy I am and the guy that is counted on to eat innings, along with giving us a real chance to win every time out."
Danks admits to losing "a tick on the fastball" and to not throwing his cutter nearly as hard as he did when working at least 195 innings, making at least 30 starts, winning at least 10 games and posting an ERA of 3.77 or lower from 2008-10. He doesn't see a reason why he can't get back to that level, especially as a more informed, more comfortable pitcher at this stage of his career.
"Comfortable throwing any pitch in any situation," Danks said. "I think back to then, I relied mainly on stuff and now I'm having to do a lot more homework, if you will, before starts and looking at scouting reports. I'm doing certain things there.
"It takes a little more. There was a day where I wouldn't even look at a scouting report. I would just go out there and pitch and it would be solely on stuff.
"Now, I have to do a little more to be prepared," Danks said. "It's fun. I've gotten to enjoy it. It's actually fun to have a plan against a guy rather than just trying to play chicken with him, if you will."
Belisario eyes bounceback after period of rest
CHICAGO -- Interim White Sox closer Ronald Belisario did not work in each of the previous two games after blowing a three-run lead in the ninth inning of Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Yankees in 10 innings.
Pitching coach Don Cooper believes Belisario will definitely benefit from the rest, after being pushed into the closer's role because of Matt Lindstrom's injury the day after he threw two scoreless innings and 21 pitches in relief.
"We threw him in there after a real workload," said Cooper of Belisario. "Getting after it, two innings, an inning the next day, here's two innings. Then close for us.
"I think he entered that not at full strength. Now, I think the two days off, hoping that helped him get it back together."
Cooper views Thursday's team off-day as a way to give all of his pitchers an extra day. The White Sox have another day off one week from Thursday between road series against the Dodgers and Angels.
"Guys are throwing the ball well," said Cooper of the bullpen, which ranks among the American League leaders since April 26 in opponents' average (first, .195), ERA (second, 2.91) and innings pitched (fifth, 92 2/3). "The biggest thing on my mind with the bullpen is giving them some time to regroup a little bit."
Belisario tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning, with one strikeout, for his third save in Tuesday night's 2-1 victory.
Paulino experiences right shoulder soreness
CHICAGO -- The White Sox returned Felipe Paulino from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte because he experienced right shoulder soreness. He was placed on the disabled list April 19 with right rotator cuff inflammation
Paulino, 30, posted an 0-2 record with an 11.29 ERA in four starts for the White Sox. He allowed 10 runs on 13 hits over 3 2/3 innings in his last start against the Rangers during a 12-0 loss on April 18.
His rehab starts produced equally poor results. Paulino yielded 29 hits and 16 walks over 19 2/3 innings and continued to work with high pitch counts.
"I don't know if he's seriously injured, but I think you look at the numbers and everything that's right there [and] you still think there's something there," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "We'll continue to evaluate that."
Paulino's rehab assignment was scheduled to end around June 1. But this latest move could lead to a new injury rehab assignment for Paulino, whom the white Sox signed to a $1.5 million deal for 2014 with a $4 million club option ($250,000 buyout) for '15. Prior to his White Sox debut, Paulino had not pitched in the big leagues since June 2012 following ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery and a cyst on his shoulder.
Flowers exchanges bats with fan
CHICAGO -- In the second inning of Monday's 6-2 victory over the Indians, Tyler Flowers inadvertently brought fame to Eileen Depesa.
Depesa was sitting behind the White Sox dugout when Flowers swung and missed at a Josh Tomlin pitch and lost his grip on the bat. The projectile was snagged by Depesa on a bounce off the dugout, with her one-handed catch preventing it from hitting a baby seated behind her.
Flowers had that bat retrieved and gave Depesa an autographed bat in return.
"That one in particular, I switched to a new model recently and I don't have a surplus of them," Flowers said. "I'm trying to keep as many as I can."
Although he heard news of the catch, Flowers never saw it. He seems to have a propensity for the accidental bat toss, but has an idea when they are coming.
"It typically coincides with a warm humid day," Flowers said. "Usually, it's the second or third at-bat for me, your gloves get a little moist, you are sweating a fair bit.
"On top of that, the pine tar becomes more slimy as opposed to sticky. I had a feeling when I was on deck [Monday]. I was starting to go get another pair of gloves and possibly a different bat. And then [Alejandro] De Aza finished his at-bat. I had to go up there."
Third to first
• Although Cooper said the upcoming rotation hadn't been completely finalized, he didn't see any changes to be made with the opportunity afforded by Thursday's off-day.
"Robin and I are talking more about giving the extra day," Cooper said. "Everybody gets a day with the off-day."
• Defensive back Charles Tillman, who has 42 forced fumbles and 36 interceptions over his 11-year career with the Bears, threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
• Conor Gillaspie would have served as the emergency catcher Monday, after Flowers was ejected and Adrian Nieto came into the game. Ventura gave him the nod over Leury Garcia, but Paul Konerko, who came up with the Dodgers as a catcher, no longer is in the running.
"Konerko has bowed out. I've taken him out of the running," said Ventura with a smile. "He was in there, but he's out of the running."
• Frank Thomas, part of the 2014 induction class for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and arguably the greatest hitter in White Sox history, celebrated his 46th birthday on Tuesday.
"I think he made it look easy for a lot of reasons. But he just had a great eye," said Ventura of his former teammate. "Everybody knew the power. But a guy that size knowing the strike zone the way he did and being able to hit it the other way [made him great].
"There wasn't a breaking in period for him. He came up and he hit from Day 1. It wasn't, it didn't seem like he ever went through valleys that first-year guys went through."
• Class A Winston-Salem right-handed pitcher Frank Montas was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for May 19-25. Montas allowed one run on two hits with 11 strikeouts over eight innings on May 22 at Salem. The hurler acquired from Boston as part of the Jake Peavy /Avisail Garcia /Jose Iglesias three-team deal last July 30 carried a no-hitter into the seventh.
• Gillaspie became the eighth White Sox player to record a four-plus hit game this season. The others are Gordon Beckham, Flowers, Avisail Garcia, Alexei Ramirez, Marcus Semien (twice), Moises Sierra and Dayan Viciedo. According to Elias, no other team in baseball has more than four players with a four-hit performance this season.