John Danks throws seven innings in first rehab start

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John Danks took a big step in his recovery from August shoulder surgery, throwing seven innings at Double-A yesterday.

Danks allowed two runs on five hits and one walk, striking out one. He needed just 86 pitches to record 21 outs and Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that Danks was working at 87-90 miles per hour with his fastball, topping out at 91 mph. During his career Danks has averaged 91 mph with his fastball, so that’s pretty close to normal.

He’s expected to make at least one more rehab start before potentially coming off the disabled list, but the White Sox rotation could definitely use Danks as soon as possible with Gavin Floyd hurt and Jake Peavy iffy due to back spasms.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”