Cooper wants Peavy to see more action
Pitching coach not ready to shut down ace right-hander
MINNEAPOLIS -- The seemingly daily update on Jake Peavy's health, now focusing on his pitching elbow, was termed as "in a holding pattern" by White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper on Wednesday.
"He tried to throw again, didn't feel up to it," said Cooper, referring to Peavy's Tuesday action. "It's really a day-to-day thing. We'll keep trying. What we'll start thinking about is what will his program be?"
Cooper won't entertain thoughts that Peavy's season with the White Sox might be done before it even began. Chicago meticulously laid out a throwing program, including Minor League rehab starts, for Peavy to work his way back from a nearly three-month absence due to a partially torn tendon in his right ankle after acquiring him from San Diego at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
That plan seemed to be right on course until Aug. 24, when Peavy took a Wes Timmons line drive off of his right elbow. The MRI showed no structural damage, but the fluid and swelling in the elbow has prevented Peavy from playing catch pain-free, after he left following 3 1/3 innings in Saturday's fourth rehab start.
With that information at hand, manager Ozzie Guillen mentioned on Tuesday how he potentially would shut down Peavy for the remainder of 2009 if the White Sox fell too far behind. That reasoning wasn't exactly foremost in Cooper's mind when questioned on Wednesday.
"No, no, no, no," Cooper said. "Why wouldn't there be a reason to go out there?"
A media member followed up Cooper's answer by stating that if Peavy is not feeling 100 percent and the White Sox are out of it, then why risk it with a potential ace who Chicago has invested $52 million in over the next three years? Cooper answered that point directly, with his ire raised a bit.
"[Peavy's] not going to go out there if he's not feeling good," Cooper said. "If he's feeling good, we're going to go out there. But you're insinuating, 'Why should we play anymore because we're done?' It sure sounded like that.
"I'm not of that sort right now, I'm not in that same category. I want to see if we can get him healthy right now so he can go out and pitch. That's where I'm standing right now. I'm not going to shut him down and, 'OK, let's see if he's OK in Spring Training.'
"If there's one thing I want to accomplish here, whether or not he's pitching in a game or not, which is yet to be determined -- I don't know what he's doing today, so how will I know what he will do five days from now?" Cooper said. "But before he leaves here, we're going to make sure he's healthy. Wouldn't that be the smart thing to do? Instead of letting him go home, shutting him down, see you later and we'll keep our fingers crossed that everything is OK in Spring Training?"
Although the MRI showed Peavy to be healthy, Cooper would like to judge him in action even for two or three starts, if possible.
"Right, but that being clear, that's fine. That means there is no structural damage. But he got smoked," said Cooper of Peavy's meeting with the line drive. "And he got smoked in his throwing elbow. I'm sitting here saying to be patient with this. He's telling us he can't throw, so he can't throw right now. But when he's ready, we're going to try something.
"We're going to make sure he's OK, that's my goal. And hopefully that leads to games. We're not done yet. Yeah, we're in a terrible spot, we need to win some games, but we're going to play until the last out. We're going to be running our guys out there until the last out. As far as Jake Peavy goes, it's a day-to-day thing and I don't know what's going down the next few days because I'm not sure where we're at today."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.