John Danks showing some recovery skills, and other White Sox notes


John Danks was able to recover from his perpetual soreness enough to get back on the field and throw multiple times last season.  He even made a rehab start on June 13th, two weeks after initially going on the disabled list. The quality of those 61 pitches at AAA might have gotten more scrutiny if it was known that he wouldn’t make another start.

Singular efforts were possible, but would soon be followed by abnormal soreness that lingered for weeks.  This process kept Danks from ever making his second rehab start, and repeated itself enough to derail all of his post-All-Star break throwing plans, all while the diagnosis of his ailment remained so vague that his eventual September shoulder surgery was still categorized as “exploratory.”

With those events in mind, it’s small, but uniquely encouraging news that Danks began his throwing program this week, and recovered from his Monday session enough to complete his full Wednesday pitch allotment as well.  He’ll need to continue at that pace, since his program calls for throwing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday, but it’s so far, so good for one of the few avenues the current roster has for improvement from last season.

Still pondering the Gold Glove for some reason

Gold Glove voting is kind of a black box beyond “the managers and coaches do it.” That makes it unclear how Jake Peavy and Tampa’s Jeremy Hellickson ended up in a tie for the AL Gold Glove, but one could speculate.

Mark Buehrle’s departure to the National League took away the name for everyone to stencil in, and a vacuum of power at a position where defense is rarely even considered an element of player value, let alone has a significant impact, makes for some listless voting.

But then A.J. Pierzynski’s continued presence as a finalist throws all the rationalization of the voting into a creek. If he’s universally reviled, why does he keep getting the benefit of the doubt on intangibles? Maybe they just want to give people a reason to look up his pitch-blocking statistics.

The Royals idea of a pitching upgrade

Since the Royals have been working with a farmer’s hand of a starting rotation for the past couple of years, they have a fairly low standard for improvement.  “Let’s….not have Bruce Chen be our Opening Day starter again,” GM Dayton Moore will probably say at least once this off-season.

Last year Kansas City reached out for Jonathan Sanchez, who even when beset by his worst control problems, represented a higher talent level than the rest of the staff.  Sanchez naturally imploded and will probably be scouring the minor league deal market.

This year, while they won’t be trading away Melky Cabrera at his PED apex, the Royals acquired an even less intriguing target in Ervin Santana (for a fringy relief prospect).  Ervin was really something in 2008 (weren’t we all!), but just came off of his very worst season of his career (39 home runs in 178 innings is just too many), and the Royals will owe him $12 million in 2013.

Santana was already pitching in too much of a pitcher’s paradise for Kaufman Stadium to be expected to cure his gopher-ball ills. Along with their waiver claim for Chris Volstad, the Royals seem to be gobbling up troubled talent to bolster a rotation that had a 5.01 ERA in 2012. It’s a solid plan, but it’s not splashy, and the financial commitment to Santana makes it less likely the Royals are counting on getting a premium starter from anywhere besides their own system. That could be a while.

Their stagnation is somewhat comforting, since the Tigers have already announced their intentions to cut bait on Delmon Young and Jose Valverde. A spend-crazy division rival that acknowledges and fixes its own weaknesses removed of sentiment is no fun. No fun at all.

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan