White Sox RHP Peavy looks to build on strong start
The arm is fine, the shoulder is sound and the legs are strong.
There are no scheduled surgeries. No minor league rehab starts,
Jake Peavy is free to worry about pitching again.
”I’m so blessed to be healthy,” he said. ”I know that it’s
been a long grind with you guys and the fans and everybody to get
me to this point. But I am healthy. Like I said, I don’t know what
I can be or can’t be now after what I’ve gone through, but I can
promise you my effort and preparation is going to be there.”
That’s more than enough for the Chicago White Sox, who are just
happy to have Peavy back on the mound. A slew of injuries over the
past three seasons cast doubt on whether the right-hander would
return to the form that led to the 2007 NL Cy Young Award with San
After three solid starts this season, it looks as if the
30-year-old Peavy has plenty left.
”He can pitch,” White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. ”I
mean that’s never been a debate over whether he can have command
and hit spots and make pitches. That’s never been the issue. It’s
just a matter of health and him being out there. So it’s great to
Peavy was hit hard during a couple of spring starts but stayed
positive, mentioning repeatedly how great it was to be healthy
again. And when the season started, he was ready to go.
He made his 2012 debut in Texas and tossed six effective innings
in a no-decision against the two-time defending AL champion
Rangers. He drew another tough lineup for his second start and
pitched into the seventh inning in a 5-2 victory over Detroit in
Chicago’s home opener.
But the most positive sign for Peavy and the White Sox came on
Wednesday night, when he pitched seven crisp innings in an 8-1
victory against Baltimore. It was his longest outing since he
pitched eight shutout innings at Minnesota on August 7.
”You don’t do the things that Jake’s done over his career and
not have that drive,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, ”and
that’s the one thing that people describe him. He’s a good teammate
and really competes and there’s a lot more than just competing
between the lines. You almost have to compete with yourself
sometimes, to push yourself to overcome some things.”
Peavy improved to 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA over 19 2-3 innings. He
also has 21 strikeouts to just two walks, a ratio that harkens back
to his Cy Young season, when he had a major league-best 240 Ks and
only 68 walks.
”I should throw strikes. That’s part of being in the big
leagues,” said Peavy, who will make his next start Monday at
Oakland. ”I’m going to find out where I stand. I told you guys,
one way or the other, something’s going to happen in a hurry. I’m
going to throw it in there and find out where we stand.”
The White Sox acquired Peavy in a deadline deal in 2009, sending
four young pitchers to the Padres to complete the trade. He was
injured at the time of the move, sidelined by a strained tendon in
his right ankle, and his comeback was slowed when he was hit on the
elbow by a line drive during a minor league rehab game. But he
managed to make three starts with his new team, going 3-0 with a
Peavy made 17 starts in 2010 and was just starting to pick up
steam when he hopped off the mound and immediately walked to the
dugout after throwing a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels. The
diagnosis was a detached muscle in the back of his right shoulder –
a rare injury that led to season-ending surgery.
Then there was rotator cuff tendinitis during spring training
last year and a trip to the disabled list for a mild right groin
strain before he was shut down in September so he could rest and
hopefully return to full strength for this season.
So far, it appears the conservative strategy may have
”I never was over here healthy,” Peavy said. ”I mean even the
start of 2010 we were battling arm issues and still trying to get
my ankle up underneath me and piece the mechanics together. So this
is the first time I’ve truly worried about pitching and I feel
blessed to do that.”
It was a long road back to this point for Peavy, who hasn’t made
more than 18 starts in a season since 2008. This season has just
started, but his comeback has added to his reputation around
baseball as a hard worker.
Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who battled back from a rotator cuff
injury early in his career, said the fact that Peavy is pitching
effectively again after the serious shoulder injury says something
about who he is as a player.
”You learn how to pitch and you know you can still get hitters
out,” he said. ”You know you haven’t lost the competitiveness.
Specifically about him, I always heard that he was max-effort guy,
that he was a great competitor. So none of those things change. I
just think that you just go out and you still react to how the
hitters react to you and you take your chances.”
Robin Ventura took over as White Sox manager in October, but he
has already seen Peavy’s competitive nature firsthand. The
right-hander lobbied to extend his outing against the Rangers, but
Ventura stayed with his plan.
”He wants to stay in,” Ventura said. ”I like that. I like to
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap