Peavy to make debut Saturday
White Sox right-hander to take mound vs. Royals
SEATTLE -- The day White Sox fans have waited for since basically the start of August arrives this Saturday, when Jake Peavy officially makes his first start for his new team at U.S. Cellular Field.
Well, it's an all-but-official start for the White Sox major acquisition from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"I hope nothing changes between now and then, and I don't expect anything to," said Peavy, who planned to throw some form of bullpen session on both Tuesday and Wednesday to build up endurance. "I look forward to going out there and competing.
"I'm certainly not where a normal starter would be or where those other guys are. But I'll go out there and compete and I look forward to taking the field the first time with my new teammates."
Peavy and the White Sox brass thought he would be taking the mound two or three weeks prior to Sept. 19 against the Royals. He came to the White Sox with a partially torn tendon in his right ankle, suffered while running the bases in a game against the Cubs, and had been inactive since a June 8 start against the D-backs.
But the right-hander worked his way back into pitching shape through two Minor League starts and a strong start to a third one with Triple-A Charlotte, before getting hit on the pitching elbow during that Aug. 24 trip to the mound. That line drive basically set back Peavy between two and three weeks.
"It's been like two weeks [since] when he was supposed to be on the mound," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of Peavy, who originally was targeted for his White Sox debut at Yankee Stadium on the weekend of Aug. 28. "It will be interesting. I think it's going to be exciting, especially for him. He wasn't on the mound for a long time, and it will be interesting to see him perform."
Some sort of pitch count or innings limit will be placed on Peavy, who has gotten up and down for the equivalent of four innings in his simulated side sessions. Peavy also has to channel his emotion and adrenaline during what amounts to being an Opening Day type of start.
"There's going to be some excitement on my part because I'm pitching in a new ballpark with a new team, in front of new fans," Peavy said. "It's going to be exciting. It has been a long, frustrating six weeks. I expected to be back by the end of the month, and we had about a two-week setback. It's just been frustrating because of what we tried to do.
"We tried to pull off just, not a miracle ... We tried to pull off a pretty rare feat, coming out of the cast and getting going."
For six weeks during the ankle injury, Peavy's ankle was completely immobilized. So, as he pointed out, Peavy was coming from square one all the way back to the mound.
Although Peavy might not ultimately make a major difference in 2009 for the White Sox, barring a miraculous team turnaround in the final three weeks, simply getting out to the mound is a step in the right direction for 2010.
"Like I said, I wanted to put everything to rest a lot quicker, but the bottom line is I just wasn't able to do that," Peavy said. "I can tell you I did everything I possibly could do and [Don Cooper] as a pitching coach and these trainers absolutely worked their tails off to get me as healthy as I could be. I don't expect to be 100 percent. I'm not 100 percent. I would be lying if I told you I was.
"But I'm excited about getting out there and competing. I expect to win on Saturday and we'll have a few more starts and put to bed hopefully all this injury stuff or whatever it is and I'll show up and be ready to go at Spring Training. Stranger things have happened, and if we get to the postseason, I'll be fine and ready for that as well."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.