John Danks throwing off mound, shoulder “feels great”

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John Danks started throwing off a mound two weeks ago as he attempts to come back from August shoulder surgery and the White Sox left-hander told Scott Merkin of MLB.com that his arm “feels great.”

“Being on the mound for a little bit of time, I feel better about things than I did before,” Danks said. “There’s still a ways to go. I haven’t spun anything or seen a hitter. But my shoulder feels great off the mound. We are getting there. I’m throwing pretty hard off the mound, not just wobbling it. So I can’t complain.”

According to Merkin he’s been throwing 40 pitches off a mound three days per week, with mostly fastballs and some changeups. Barring any setbacks it’s possible Danks could be fully healthy for spring training, although his missing the beginning of the season wouldn’t be a surprise.

Rene Rivera out 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery

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Angels catcher Rene Rivera will be sidelined for up to six weeks, the club announced Friday. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation last Sunday and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus.

Rivera, 34, signed on as a backup catcher to the Angels’ Martin Maldonado back in January. Since then, he’s slashed a healthy .259/.322/.481 with six extra-base hits and an .804 OPS in 59 plate appearances this spring. While manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t anticipate any complications with the veteran catcher’s recovery process, the team will have to wait and see whether he can maintain that kind of consistent production upon his return this summer.

In the interim, rookie backstop Jose Briceno is expected to shoulder Rivera’s workload. The 25-year-old is working through his second year in the Angels’ organization and currently batting .261/.272/.500 with six home runs in 92 PA for Triple-A Salt Lake. He’s likely to make his big league debut sometime in the next week.