John Danks was able to throw 36 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday. He’ll still have to make it through another side session Thursday, but Paul Casella of MLB.com reports that he’s tentatively scheduled to make his first minor league rehab start Sunday.
Danks has been sidelined since leaving a start against the Nationals on June 25 with a right oblique strain. He’s scheduled to make two rehab starts before being reevaluated, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen indicated that they aren’t in a hurry to bring him back to the big-league rotation.
“Danks threw today, he’s fine,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. [Pitching coach Don Cooper] has got a schedule for him in the Minor Leagues. We’re not going to rush him. We’ve got plenty of days to come back.”
Assuming he needs just the two starts in the minor leagues, Danks lines up to make his return July 20 against against the Royals.
Danks is 3-8 with a 4.21 ERA over 15 starts this season. The 26-year-old left-hander had a 1.14 ERA and 19/3 K/BB ratio over his last four outings prior to the injury.
The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.
Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.
The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.
After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.