Peavy feels healthy, ready to compete
Enters season as healthy as he has been with White Sox
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Over the course of six Spring Training starts concluding Sunday afternoon against the Reds, White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy didn't pay much attention to the velocity of his pitches.
Peavy was told that he hit 90-92 mph in his two Minor League starts. But as the right-hander pointed out, that's just hearsay.
Rearing back and throwing fastballs past opposing hitters, as he could during his Cy Young days with San Diego, really isn't Peavy's style at this point of his career. But he balked a bit at the idea that his pitching solely centers on movement and location.
"I'll change some eye levels and throw some four-seam fastballs," Peavy said. "I used to be what I would think would be a power guy and being able to make guys swing and miss.
In Sunday's 13-10 victory over the Reds, Peavy yielded four runs on seven hits over four innings. He struck out five and walked one, tapering his pitch count before he works when statistics count Saturday night in Arlington, Texas, against the two-time defending American league champions.
This is a truly exciting time for the 30-year-old Peavy in his 11th big league season and in the final year of his contract with the White Sox, who hold a $22 million option for 2013 that is unlikely to be exercised. It's exciting for the veteran because he's healthy.
No groin issues. No ankle pain. No worries about his surgically reattached lat some 21 months after surgery. It's a feeling he can't remember having for quite some time.
"I told [White Sox bench coach] Mark Parent today I can't wait to go out Saturday night and compete and worry about nothing but getting Ian Kinsler out to start the game," Peavy said. "And not, 'Oh, I got this and other stuff going on.'
"It's going to be refreshing and will make the game fun. You show up as healthy as you can be and go out and compete and try to win the game and not go out there because you need to be out there and try to figure out a way to get through it. That's a bad place to be, and I've been there for a few years."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura points to good health for his team as a whole as Spring Training's most important factor. As for numerical expectations for Peavy, he won't be placing any.
"I'm going to let him go out there and pitch and not worry he has to guarantee so many starts or anything else," Ventura said. "It's one thing to sit there and say you expect something out of him. I just want him to go and if he's healthy, I'm going to keep him going."
Sunday's assessment from Peavy was that he wanted a little better fastball command, leading him to work strictly on that particular pitch in his final inning. He was pleased with the swings and misses on his slider, changeup and curve, which is more of a barometer of effectiveness for Peavy than a 95- or 96-mph reading on a speed gun.
"I'll guess I would pitch anywhere from 88 to 92 and maybe get a little more on my good days, I hope," said Peavy, reverting back to velocity talk. "The biggest thing for me is my breaking balls, and the exciting part for me was there were a lot of swings and misses on breaking balls today and a lot of swings and misses, period.
"Obviously, I missed a lot on fastballs and gave up a lot of hits, but that stuff can be corrected. I'm going to take a lot of positives out of this today, and my arm is going to feel good this week leading up to Texas."
There has been a little arm soreness for Peavy during Spring Training, but he has worked through it and feels he is right where he should be. His homework this week will consist of studying video of the Rangers, but he also will continue to review tape of his All-Star days in San Diego.
His velocity might have changed since winning the National League pitching Triple Crown in 2007. But he doesn't intend to change his pitching style. Now, he has good health to back up his stuff.
"That's the only way I know," Peavy said. "That's the way I was successful. The way I feel close to that is the way I feel here. Mainly, it's fastball location. I was 91-94 there with a good breaking ball.
"When you can throw your breaking ball for strikes and when you have a good one when guys swing and miss, it makes that fastball a whole lot better. That's the guy I want to be and try to emulate.
"Certainly, when you come off a surgery and feel something around that area, and I was pitching in the big leagues less than a year after that, you are going, 'Oh gosh,'" Peavy said. "I will take the mound Saturday night and compete and not worry. My arm is not hurting. I will be as healthy as I can be, and that's exciting."