John Danks isn't giving Chicago White Sox fans a good reason to be hopeful for his return to the rotation. Danks told the Chicago Tribune that he's still feeling soreness. Danks appears that he won't be ready to start again anytime soon after having his return date pushed back.
Peavy, Floyd Sale listed as starters for next week's Cubs' series, meaning Danks' return will be pushed back.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) June 15, 2012
Danks said on Thursday that he experienced more soreness than he thought would be normal after playing catch that day. He said that he thought it resulted from his minor league rehab start on Tuesday.
The sixth-year starter said:
I obviously didn't expect to feel quite this sore. I've never had this before, so I really didn't know what to expect. So I knew I'd be sore. I was just hoping I would bounce back better than I have. It's part of it and it's kind of like spring training. You go without throwing, it's going to be sore.
Danks seems like he's sensing the soreness well as his shoulder heals—he's feeling his way through the recovery, determining at each step whether the soreness is going down.
Each step might bring a little less discomfort. Currently, Danks appears as if that progress is coming slowly. He described the shoulder as feeling "pretty sore" on Thursday.
On Friday, Gonzales tweeted that Danks said he was feeling a normal level of soreness.
Danks played catch, felt normal soreness, said he'll visit Dr. Gregory Nicholson on Monday in Chicago.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) June 15, 2012
One can only guess what that normal level of soreness is. Perhaps it means that he's back to the level of soreness that he feels he should have at this point in recovery.
Unless the doctor says that his shoulder is as healthy as it should be after being out for almost a month, Danks is at least another two weeks away from returning to pitch for the White Sox. The White Sox will be watching him closely to ensure that he doesn't return before he's ready.
The 27-year-old is the biggest long-term investment that the White Sox have on the mound. They gave him a five-year, $65 million extension in December, and they wouldn't want to watch that money go to waste as his shoulder falls apart.
Taking that extra time to have Danks recover can help him stay healthy for the long term.
In the meantime, the White Sox are fine without him. Jose Quintana continues to do well in his place. Quintana has allowed three runs in 11.1 innings in his last two starts.
As long as the soreness persists, the White Sox would be safest to keep Danks out. Once he feels like he's not that sore, he should be able to return.