GLENDALE, Ariz. — John Danks hadn’t pitched in a game since last May.
The 10 months that passed since felt like 10 years to the Chicago White Sox left-hander.
The last two hours before Danks started Chicago’s spring game against the San Francisco Giants on Monday seemed like an eternity to him, too.
“I tell you what, the clock stopped at 11 (a.m.),” said Danks, who took the mound at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time for the first time since he faced the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 19. “I felt like I kept looking at the clock, waiting for the game to start. Once I got on the field and started warming up, it felt a little more in my comfort zone.”
Danks looked comfortable in his 35-pitch start, throwing 27 for strikes and allowing one run on two hits and no walks with two strikeouts. One of the hits was a home run to left field by Joaquin Arias, the second batter he faced. After that, Danks retired five batters in a row before allowing a leadoff single in the third to Kensuke Tanaka.
“I feel good right now,” said Danks, who threw mostly fastballs and changeups. “The test will be tomorrow and the next day. So far, so good. As I was going back out there for the second and third innings, I didn’t feel like I was losing anything. If anything, it was starting to come to me a little bit.”
The White Sox beat the Giants 6-2.
Danks made only nine starts last season and, after trying to rehab through his shoulder injury, had arthroscopic surgery in August to repair a capsular tear and minor debridement of the rotator cuff and biceps in the shoulder. He has been on a normal workload and routine this spring and has been saying he expects to be on the opening-day roster.
Monday’s start was an important step in his recovery process.
“I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “I couldn’t have really asked for more. I don’t want to give up homers, but my main focus was throwing strikes and I was able to do that.”
Ryan Vogelsong allowed three runs on four hits in his third spring start for the Giants. Vogelsong made his last appearance before he joins Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. He threw five scoreless innings over his first two starts.
“It’s early,” Vogelsong said. “My location has been pretty good, so that helps.”
Matt Cain pitched three innings in relief, allowing two runs and five hits.
Twins 7, Cardinals 0
JUPITER, Fla. — Lance Lynn allowed four hits in a three-run first inning and Jason Motte gave up a two-run homer in his second straight outing as the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Minnesota Twins 7-0 Monday.
Working on his slider instead of throwing fastballs and trying to induce fly balls into the wind, Lynn gave up three runs — two earned — and five hits in 2 1-3 innings.
Aaron Hicks and Brian Dozier started with singles, and Trevor Plouffe hit a sacrifice fly. Singles by Chris Parmalee and Joe Benson brought in another run, and Lynn threw wildly on Wilkin Ramirez’s grounder for an error that allowed the third run in.
“We’re trying to do things to have quicker, easier innings, and the sinker is the way to go,” Lynn said. “I was getting the ground balls I wanted. I just couldn’t get them to hit it at anybody when I needed to.”
All five hits off Lynn were singles. He has given up four earned runs and nine hits in two starts.
“I think he’s right on pace and where he should be,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s just getting built up. When guys go in with a plan, they need to stick with their plan through spring training. The foolish thing to do is back off when you’re not getting the exact results you want.”
Hicks hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Motte.
Cain’s spring ERA is 6.43.
A’s 13, Angels 5
PHOENIX — John Jaso was brought to Oakland as a backup. He showed what he could do as a starter.
Jaso had a bases-loaded triple, Brandon Moss had two hits and an RBI, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Los Angeles Angels 13-5 on Monday.
“He’s always had good numbers but it’s still good to see him hit like that,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He got that triple off a left-hander and he’s had good at-bats this year.”
Jaso, a four-year veteran, was obtained in a three-way trade from the Seattle Mariners to backup catcher Derek Norris.
Vernon Wells hit a three-run home run, extending his hitting streak to five games, and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout had three hits for the Angels, who lost their third straight. Howie Kendrick and Scott Cousins also drove in runs.
Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie and Moss each drove in runs in the fifth to put Oakland ahead to stay.
Angels starter Jason Vargas went two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one in his first outing of the spring.
“I felt pretty dialed in,” Vargas said. “I mainly threw fastballs and tried to pound the strike zone. I threw a couple of decent change-ups but that’s not something I’m worried about. It’s been there for a while.”
A’s starter Dan Straily allowed two runs on four hits over 2 1-3 innings. He struck out two.
Indians 13, Cubs 5
MESA, Ariz. — Indians manager Terry Francona was reluctant to allow starter Carlos Carrasco remain in the game after he was hit in the head by a line drive.
“We made him pass every test there was,” Francona said. “We quizzed him out on the mound and even after the inning we took him up into the clubhouse and really put him through a real good rundown of stuff. It got him pretty good and we will follow up with him (Monday night) for sure.”
Carrasco did persuade Francona to stay after Darnell McDonald’s drive knocked him to his knees and he pitched three innings in the Indians’ 13-5 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Carrasco is competing for one of the team’s rotation spots. He allowed four hits, two runs with a walk and two strikeouts. He did give up Alfonso Soriano’s first homer of the spring.
Carrasco, who missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery, was followed by Zach McCallister and Trevor Bauer. They each pitch three innings.
McCallister allowed one hit.
“We wanted all three to go three,” Francona said. “We actually sent McCallister down to the bullpen to finish up. He was very efficient. It was a good day all around.”
Bauer followed and allowed three runs — two earned — on two hits and a walk. He struck out two.
“No, not really,” he said when asked if he had command of all of his pitches. “They are getting better every time and that’s all I care about.”
Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher each homered and Swisher has three of the Indians’ 20 hits. Lonnie Chisenhall finished a triple short of the cycle and had three RBIs.
Red Sox 5, Rays 1
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Finally on the mound for a spring training game, Felix Doubront was pleased with his outing.
Doubront, slowed a sore left shoulder this year, pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings for the Boston Red Sox on Monday in a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Feels fine,” Doubront said of his shoulder. “It’s good to be back on the mound again, working hard to see the results for my arm. Very good.”
Doubront gave up one hit, walked two and struck out two, throwing 23 of 43 pitches for strikes.
“When you look at his fastball, breaking ball, as well as a couple of changeups that he threw. Ideally you’d like to see him get through a couple of innings in his first outing,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “But the fact is, he got up and down twice, no physical issues.”
Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, making his first start and second appearance of spring training, allowed one run and two hits in three innings with four strikeouts. He threw 31 of 43 pitches for strikes.