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