Danks uses sim game to build arm strength

Left-hander works four innings, throws 55 pitches

Danks uses sim game to build arm strength

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Before John Danks took the mound for his simulated game at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper laid out the instructions.

Three innings, maybe even four, or as Cooper quipped, pitching until Danks falls over. Danks never was overcome by exhaustion, but he got in the necessary work during a 55-pitch, four-inning stint, marking his second trip to the mound this spring.

"At this point, I'm more concerned about just getting pitches in and building up arm strength," Danks said. "I'm not real concerned about being in a game just yet.

"There will be plenty of opportunity to get in a game atmosphere. But it wasn't like I was facing slouches out there. I had some good hitters and was able to make some good pitches and get some positive feedback from that. It was a real positive day."

Adam LaRoche and Conor Gillaspie were among the hitters in the simulated game, while the White Sox took on the Royals at Surprise Stadium. It's not uncommon for the team to keep its rotation out of Cactus League action against American League Central rivals, but the White Sox also wanted to get a look at No. 7 prospect Tyler Danish as a starter.

Danks said his changeup was not where he wants it be just yet, but added it's a feel pitch so it will come along as Spring Training progresses. His next start is scheduled for Sunday at home against the Angels, or at least that's the start Danks is expecting to make.

"As far as I know. I just found out this one wasn't just a couple of days ago," Danks said. "Like I said, I'm not real concerned about it just yet. As long as I'm getting out and throwing every fifth day and building up arm strength, that's the name of the game right now.

"We got all the work in we wanted to get in and feel good about it. Go about it as if that was the start and get it in five days."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.