When asked about his outlook for the 2013 season during the months of October, November and December, John Danks would use the words "cautiously optimistic" as part of his response.
Then Jan. 2 rolled around, and the rehab program for Danks' arthroscopically repaired left shoulder took him to throwing off the mound. That big step and ensuing positive results slightly altered the southpaw's outlook.
"Being on the mound for a little bit of time, I feel better about things than I did before," Danks told MLB.com via a Tuesday morning phone interview. "There's still a ways to go. I haven't spun anything or seen a hitter. But my shoulder feels great off the mound."
Danks has thrown 40 pitches off the mound three times per week since Jan. 2, going with the mix of 30 fastballs and 10 changeups. He felt good enough to petition to increase the number of pitches in the sessions, but White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and pitching coach Don Cooper have told Danks to stay where he's at currently.
Prior to arriving in chilly Chicago next Friday for SoxFest at the Palmer House, Danks will start "spinning them" as part of the increased mound work. He already has moved from just throwing fastballs straight down the middle to working them on the corners.
"We are getting there," Danks said. "I'm throwing pretty hard off the mound, not just wobbling it. So I can't complain.
Read more: White Sox lefty John Danks says shoulder 'feels great' | MLB.com: News