Danks upbeat following solid final tuneup

White Sox lefty allows two runs in five innings vs. Padres

Danks upbeat following solid final tuneup

SAN DIEGO -- John Danks spoke for more than himself when assessing the past month and a half of Spring Training work following a 10-2 White Sox victory over the Padres on Saturday afternoon at Petco Park. The win left the South Siders with a final exhibition mark of 17-13-1.

"I'm glad it's over, I'm ready to play some games that count," said Danks, who threw 42 of his 58 pitches for strikes during his final regular season tuneup. "But definitely made some good strides from the beginning of camp to now. I'm ready to go."

Danks allowed two runs and six hits in five innings, striking out two and not issuing a walk. Much was made of the pitch-tipping advice presented by catcher Dioner Navarro -- regarding where Danks placed his glove before certain pitches -- as a Cactus League turnaround.

But that moment stood as part of the improvement process over seven starts for the longest tenured White Sox player on the current 25-man roster.

"Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] and I have worked a lot the last couple of years especially, but we put a lot of work in this year to kind of decide what we were going to go with in a way to modify it, simplify it," said Danks, who fanned 26 and walked nine over 31 2/3 innings. "Throwing strikes, making them hit the ball on the ground. I'll take my chances with that."

"This was the best Johnny has looked as far as just composure, control," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Having that separation on his fastball and his changeup was good today."

White Sox escape injury-free

Melky Cabrera ran into the wall in left-field foul ground during the first inning of Saturday's contest, as he chased down a Jon Jay foul ball. Cabrera made the one-handed catch, took a step and then went back-first into the wall.

Ventura and White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider checked on Cabrera, after Danks motioned them from the dugout. But after a few stretches in the outfield, Cabrera stayed in the game.

"He seems really good right now. He didn't seem so good when I went out there," Ventura said. "It just startled him, but he's moving around and feels great. He's very excited to go on the flight to Oakland."

During his pregame media session, Ventura hoped aloud to get through these exhibition games healthy and referenced the fractured right elbow suffered by Arizona's A.J. Pollock sliding home Friday night. The White Sox have dealt with minor injuries during camp, but nothing that cost significant time to any player.

"You are really nervous about plays around home plate or a guy diving somewhere," Ventura said. "Last night, Jose [Abreu] was out at second base toward the end of the game and we know we are switching him out but you don't necessarily want to do it right there. You get nervous when guys are out there.

"If it happens during the season, that's one thing. But to happen right before, it just seems very unfortunate."

Final roster is set

Following Saturday's victory, the White Sox reassigned right-handed pitcher Phillippe Aumont, infielder Travis Ishikawa, outfielder Jacob May and catcher Hector Sanchez to Minor League camp.

With the moves, the White Sox 25-man Opening Day roster will include 12 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders.

Lineup arrangement

Friday's lineup featuring switch-hitter Jimmy Rollins second and switch-hitting Cabrera fifth seems to be one that sits well with Ventura. Cabrera hitting fifth breaks up the right-handed hitters and provides another RBI man in the middle.

"It needs to be," said Ventura of Cabrera driving in runs. "We have a lot of righties so they are going to have to be somewhere spaced in there. More than likely it will end up like that."

Being a switch-hitter and a good handler of the bat, Rollins can go to a couple of different places in the lineup per Ventura.

They Said It

"I'm not going to pick it apart. I'm happy with where they are at and they are ready to go." Ventura, when asked if there was one part of the White Sox game that impressed him most during Spring Training.

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