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.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.