Jake Peavy hopes to be ready on opening day for the Chicago White Sox. He’s not making any guarantees, though.
The former NL Cy Young Award winner said he’s at about 60 to 70 per cent after season-ending surgery to repair a shoulder muscle in July. He’s been throwing off the mound and is not feeling pain other than the usual stiffness, although his arm is not at full strength.
He said he expects to undergo an MRI exam and map out a schedule with coaches, trainers and doctors during the first week of spring training.
“I’ll be the ringleader trying to push the envelope and make sure I’m ready as soon as possible, and I’m sure with what transpired last year, some of those guys are going to play devil’s advocate and take it slow,” Peavy said Tuesday on a conference call from San Diego.
“But we find the happy medium to where we think we’re not doing anything to jeopardize or make any setbacks, I hope to be ready to go real soon.”
The 29-year-old right-hander would give them one of the deepest rotations and likely keep Chris Sale in a relief role, but he’s spent much of the past two seasons on the disabled list.
He was limited to a career-low 16 starts because of a strained tendon in his right ankle with the White Sox and Padres in 2009 and made just 17 a year ago.
His last appearance was against the Los Angeles Angels on July 6, when he left in the second inning.
With two out, he delivered a 2-2 pitch to Mike Napoli and then jumped off the mound and raised his right arm before walking straight to the dugout with team trainer Herm Schneider.
Peavy had been bothered by a sore shoulder in June. He had one start pushed back two days and then threw a shutout the next time he went to the mound, but finished the season at 7-6 with a 4.63 ERA.
He said he was a “lost cause” mechanically in the early going because of the ankle injury and a strong finish in 2009 simply masked the problems.
“That got me in such bad habits,” he said.
He was favouring the ankle and his arm slot was off. It wasn’t until around the end of April that they saw on video what was wrong, and eventually, Peavy started pitching more like himself, but in early July, his season came to an end.
A week later, he had the surgery, and it hasn’t been an easy recovery. He’s been juggling rehab with tending to his ailing father in Alabama since late December.
Peavy recently finished a throwing program designed by the doctors and training staff that he had been following since Nov. 1, playing long toss up to 120 feet and even having a catch on Christmas. Now, he’s on a more normal routine, although it takes him about 30 minutes to loosen up. That’s the biggest difference.
“I’ve pushed it as much as I can while listening to my body,” he said.
The White Sox can afford to take a cautious approach with Peavy, with established starters like Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, Gavin Floyd and John Danks and Sale available to fill the fifth spot.
Even so, that didn’t stop manager Ozzie Guillen from chiming in during the conference call, saying, “You better be ready for spring training, or I’m going to get fired.”
To that end, Peavy said, “I can promise you this, when I get to spring training, there’s been no leaf unturned.”
“It’s been a miserable winter,” he added. “Nothing’s fun about playing catch on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, going to therapy. Nothing’s fun about what I’ve done this winter. … When I get there, I will either have good results because I worked my rear end off or I’ll have bad results. If I have bad results, there’s nothing else I could have done different. I certainly expect things to be smooth. I want to be the guy that Ozzie and the rest of the staff knows I can be, sooner than later.”