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Notes: Dunning throws; Gio's 'mini-reinvention'

@Russ_Dorsey1
March 2, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox prospect Dane Dunning knows his road back from Tommy John surgery isn’t going to be an easy one, but that’s not stopping him from soaking up as much as he can during the process.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox prospect Dane Dunning knows his road back from Tommy John surgery isn’t going to be an easy one, but that’s not stopping him from soaking up as much as he can during the process.

Dunning -- the White Sox No. 6 prospect according to MLB Pipeline -- threw to live hitters on Friday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last March, following that up with his second Monday.

“We’re getting back to mainly locating my pitches,” Dunning said. “Being able to locate the fastball on the inside part of the plate and be able to elevate a fastball or sync it up low, just overall command of my pitches. Just getting over that hump now and get back into game-like progress. It’s a really good feeling for me and a brighter picture.

“[Command] will always come with time and everything, but it doesn’t hurt to work on it now when I’m going through live [batting practice] instead of being in a game when I’m trying to figure it out then.”

Now that Dunning is over the hurdle of facing hitters, the next step is refining his pitches before he works toward game action again. While that part of his throwing program is a ways off, his steady improvement and increase in work has him feeling more prepared when he returns.

“I honestly feel like I can compete if I was put into a game right now, but we want to dial that back. I feel like each day I go and play catch, I learn something new. A new feeling [or] a new motion. It’s been beneficial with all these players and big leaguers that we have. Talking to [Dallas] Keuchel about staying on my backside a little bit longer and things like that. It’s a lot of new feelings, but it’s going to benefit me for the future.”

Worth noting
Gio González threw 30 pitches on Sunday as he works his way back from a left shoulder strain. The 34-year-old southpaw will play long toss on Tuesday and throw bullpen sessions on Wednesday and Friday. No timetable has been set for him to return to game action.

“It’s moving forward. That’s the progress I wanted,” González said. “You don't want setbacks. Especially now that we’re in the meat of [Spring Training]. Now that we’re in March. It’s one of those things you want to keep pushing forward and luckily the training staff and the strength coaches have been working on me every day.

On what might help him in his work getting back to game shape:

“Obviously, some good teammates around you, kind of helping to push you in the right direction. Helping you mechanically. Some of the coaches helping you mechanically. There’s a lot of positives over the time I’ve been having off. So it gives you a little clearer perspective of what you want to work on and get yourself in tune. This is almost like a mini re-invention.”

Up next
Reynaldo López will make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday as the White Sox take on the Athletics at 2:05 p.m. CT at Camelback Ranch. The game will be available to watch via webcast on whitesox.com.

Russell Dorsey is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @Russ_Dorsey1.