Notes: Danks works extra in 'pen

Notes: Danks works extra in 'pen

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The first thing that John Danks did after his three-inning outing on Monday was rush to the White Sox bullpen to get in some work.

Against the Royals, Danks hadn't been taxed too much, aside from a pitcher's nightmare of trying to keep the speedy Joey Gathright from running loose on the bases.

"You can sit there and pick eight times in a row, and he'll steal the ninth time," Danks said.

Still, the run that Gathright ended up scoring in the first inning did little to change the look of what Danks did. He gave up one hit, struck out three and looked well on his way to being ready for the '08 season.

"It went great," he said of his second outing of the Cactus League season. "I felt a lot more comfortable out there. The cutter was great."

In his outing, Danks relied on his cut fastball more than on his changeup, a pitch he turned to often when in trouble last season.

Not that he abandoned his changeup altogether. He threw a couple of really good ones. They were as effective as his cutter.

"He went after hitters -- a pretty good outing," manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Danks sped through those hitters so quickly that he might not have needed to use the changeup any more than he did, which is one reason he headed to the bullpen.

"I was just ahead of the pitch count, and I needed to go catch up, which is a very good indication that I'm getting early outs and getting ground balls, and I'm not walking anyone right now," Danks said. "I was able to go out there and get a little extra work in."

McTroubles: Reliever Mike MacDougal had another rough outing. In the sixth inning, MacDougal came on in relief with the White Sox ahead, 5-3. He served up a two-run home run that tied the ballgame.

"Being hit in Spring Training, I don't mind," Guillen said. "He threw more strikes. To me, that's important. I think he's got to fight through it."

Guillen called MacDougal "a project."

Two days shy of turning 31, MacDougal needs to shed his prospect label. With his high-octane fastball, he has the ability to dominate hitters. Yet he's struggled to do so throughout his career in the big leagues.

"The worst thing that can happen is he puts doubts into what he can do," Guillen said. "We still believe in him. We still believe he's got great stuff to pitch in the Major League level. He's gotta continue to fight."

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South of the border: Guillen and the White Sox -- half of them, anyway -- played a split-squad game in Hermosillo, Mexico, on Sunday, and even though they lost to the Diamondbacks, 7-6, the experience was memorable, outfielder Brian Anderson said.

"Being from the States, you kinda wonder how it's gonna be," Anderson said. "You're not used to going down there."

But one thing Anderson, who's from the Tucson area, knew was that the Hispanic community would be into the game. People in Mexico have a love affair with baseball that rivals that of anybody in the United States.

Anderson appreciated the warm reception fans gave the White Sox, and he called the whole experience fun.

"Even if you're kinda tired and dragging a little bit," he said, "the fans got you into it."

Did you know: The White Sox rotation ranked fourth in the American League in the number of quality starts last season. The staff recorded a total of 88. The Sox went 52-36 in games in which they got a quality start. Their record was 18-54 when they didn't.

Around the horn: For the trip to Surprise, Guillen brought along four Minor League prospects: infielder/outfielder John Shelby, infielder C.J. Retherford, pitcher Derek Rodriguez and pitcher John Lujan. Rodriguez and Lujan are both right-handers. ... The average age of the White Sox 40-man roster is 27.7 years, and Jim Thome, 37, is the oldest player in camp. ... The White Sox have gone 3-3 against the Diamondbacks and the Rockies this spring. Coming into this Cactus League season, the Sox had been a combined 2-22-2 against those two clubs since 2006. ... The White Sox were 12-6 against the Royals last season.

Up next: The White Sox take on the Angels on Tuesday at Tucson Electric Park. Veteran right-hander Jose Contreras is scheduled to make the start for the White Sox, and Contreras will face Angels right-hander Ervin Santana in a 2:05 p.m. CT game.

Justice B. Hill is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.