Danks impresses during live batting practice
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."