White Sox left-hander John Danks was limited to just three starts last season due to a shoulder injury which required surgery. While he’s healthy now, he could get a late start on the 2013 season.
Danks has been shaky over his first three Cactus League outings, posting an 11.74 ERA and 4/3 K/BB ratio over 7 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, his velocity is in the high-80s, down a few ticks from his career average. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday that the disabled list is a possibility if it is determined that he needs to build more arm strength.
“John is aware if he’s ready he’s going to be with us,’’ Cooper said Friday. “If he’s not, we’ll give him more time. It’s not something we are going to rush or force feed. We can’t say, ‘Hey, we need you to throw harder.’ We have no control over that. All we have control over is going out there and having our sidelines and going out in the game. Heck, he threw 60 pitches yesterday so that’s a plus in itself. He’s climbing.
The White Sox have every reason to take things slow here. As part of a five-year, $65 million extension signed in December of 2011, Danks will make $14.25 million in each of the next four seasons.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.