GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Based on White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's analysis, Jake Peavy has been the most impressive White Sox starter during Spring Training 2011.
And remember, Peavy entered Arizona on a potentially restricted rehab trail from 2010 season-ending surgery to repair a completely torn tendon that connects the lat muscle to the bone in his right posterior shoulder.
Peavy turned in another solid 67-pitch effort during Monday's 7-6 loss to his old team from San Diego at Camelback Ranch. Even with Peavy feeling as if he made "good progress" on Monday, coming out of the start better than expected, Guillen still isn't ready to complete his remarkable comeback by placing Peavy on the Opening Day roster.
"I'm very optimistic he's going to be out there, but [realistically], I have to be prepared for Plan B," said Guillen, after Peavy allowed three runs on six hits over four innings, fanning two and walking one.
"We want him there very badly. But is it necessary we take the risk? That's the question we have to put in the air. That's a decision we have to make as an organization.
"That's one we have to make with the medical reports, with the trainers," Guillen continued. "It's not a decision that just comes from Ozzie. It has to come from everyone in the organization and that's why we have to be careful."
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There also was a little reining in done by Peavy in his rehab program, with the right-hander now basically functioning much like one of the other four starters preparing for the regular season.
"[White Sox head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] and [assistant athletic trainer] Brian Ball said you can't rehab and pitch at the same time," Peavy said. "You get to a point in rehab, you've got to just maintain your strength and go from there. So we cut way back on volume and I think that made a difference.
"We'll continue to tinker with the program and find a way. I've got to stay on top of things and make sure everything is strong and intact. I'm sure it'll be a little learning curve and I think we got better these [past] four days."
Results from Monday's fourth inning might look as if Peavy struggled, with Cedric Hunter doubling home one run and Mike Baxter launching a two-run home run. But catcher A.J. Pierzynski admitted that they were working on certain pitches and locations out of the stretch, and passed up opportunities to possibly put hitters away that inning.
"I felt quite a bit better today," Peavy said. "You guys saw the fatigue set in around that 50-60 pitch mark, but we pushed the envelope staying out there and getting that pitch count up. That's the only way to get your arm back in shape and your stamina up."
"Feedback from him in the dugout was the best I got from him in the last three outings he's had," Guillen said. "He was talking very positive. Today, he was more aggressive than he was early. He let the ball go a couple of times. I'm very happy where he is right now."
Next on the schedule for Peavy will be a start Saturday against Oakland in Phoenix, where he'll be looking to climb to around six innings. Making that necessary move and bouncing back strong before his next spring start still doesn't necessarily guarantee Peavy will break camp with the White Sox.
The team could choose to leave him back for a couple of extended spring starts, especially if cold April weather becomes a worry. Fifth starter or not, Peavy wants to pitch if he's healthy and ready. Guillen wants the same for Peavy, which is why they will make sure he's 100 percent before making the final call.
"Either way, we are going to take a risk," Guillen said. "We are going to take the best risk for the ballclub and for him.
"This kid is very valuable for us -- not just this year but for years to come. That's why we have to be aware of what we do. That's why this decision will be pretty interesting."