For Peavy, team is the most important thing
Ace righty pushed for Buehrle to get Opening Day nod
PEORIA, Ariz. -- With Mark Buehrle set to make his franchise-record eighth Opening Day start on Monday, the story can be told once again as to how that nod almost went to Jake Peavy.
It's a tale that only adds to the growing legend that is the White Sox ace right-hander.
"I didn't know that story was going to get out, any of it," said Peavy, talking about how he pushed for Buehrle to get the Opening Day call. "I just called [pitching coach Don Cooper], and we talked about it. He told me it looked like they were going in another direction [from Buehrle], and I couldn't get at peace with going out there and doing that.
"Mark really is deserving of that start. That's also a good message to send to this clubhouse, to our fans, even to Mark. We are saying, 'Hey, listen, we have a couple of No. 1 starters here, so run them all out there.' From one through five, we are as good or as solid as anyone in the game. It's something I truly believe."
Peavy was set to finish his preseason work with a start on Thursday night against Triple-A Charlotte in front of an excepted full house. He then makes his 2010 regular-season debut on Wed., April 7, against the Indians.
The 6.55 ERA over 11 Cactus League innings certainly isn't what Peavy's looking for when the season begins. Then again, there's a good chance he won't throw 96 percent fastballs during a given game, as he did on March 22 in Surprise against Kansas City (71 of 74 pitches).
Ultimately, Peavy doesn't care if his individual numbers look good. As has been talked about multiple times this spring, Peavy is a team guy, first and foremost.
"When I take the ball every fifth day, I'm trying to win, and I don't care how it has to happen," he said. "I don't care if it happens 7-6 or 1-0. If I walk away from that night and the White Sox have won, I've done my job. It's the bottom line. This game is about winning.
"I'm excited about this season. I expect a lot of myself, talked about as a No. 1 guy and game-changer. I certainly believe I'm going to do all I can and have characteristics and qualities of a No. 1 starter. But I just want to make it clear. Mark Buehrle has done some incredible things here. It's his team. He's beloved in Chicago.
"Where I fit in the rotation doesn't matter much to me. It doesn't matter who starts Opening Day or Game 5. We all believe we have a job to do, and we are going to do it."
Beckham all ready for diamond move
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Taking part in a grand total of seven double plays wouldn't exactly qualify as a Spring Training test for second baseman Gordon Beckham. It would probably be more of a pop quiz.
Turning those double plays stands as the only real concern for Beckham as he makes the move from third base to second for the 2010 season.
"I'm ready and prepared enough so when it happens, it's natural," Beckham said.
The move across the diamond is not without precedence, as Beckham played second during Spring Training 2009 and almost worked his way into the starting lineup after 14 previous games of Minor League experience. He has shown solid range to either side on ground balls and felt whatever pressure he was feeling released when he made that first Spring Training double-play turn on a feed from shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
"As soon as the ball was hit, I was like, 'Here it is,' " said a smiling Beckham. "We got it done. It was a tough ground ball when we turned it. It's all going to come, and hopefully it will be natural in season."
Elarton leads Cactus finale upset
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Minor Leaguers targeted for Double-A Birmingham claimed a 9-4 victory over Seattle in Peoria on Thursday to close out Cactus League action for the White Sox with a 10-16-5 record. Seattle knew about the White Sox roster change beforehand, with the team playing an exhibition against Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday night.
Jim Gallagher and Jared Price launched home runs off Ian Snell, penciled in as the Mariners' No. 2 starter, and Cole Armstrong went deep off of Chad Cordero. Right-hander Scott Elarton started and pitched two scoreless innings, striking out Franklin Gutierrez.
Elarton previously pitched for the Astros, Rockies, Indians and Royals but walked away from the game in July 2008 to take care of "things outside of baseball."
"I did that, and I feel good about it," said Elarton, who joined the White Sox organization on March 25. "I'm just free, and that to me is the easiest part about it. I'm just enjoying it this time."
Extended Spring Training in Arizona is next on the agenda for Elarton, then he'll see what the White Sox have in mind for him. It was easy for the veteran with a career record of 56-61 in 10 seasons to go with the White Sox.
"They were the only ones who would give me a chance," he said with a laugh. "That's all I was looking for. I wasn't looking for any promises, just somebody who would bring me into camp and let me throw a little bit."
Odds and ends
Charlotte's starting rotation will consist of Lucas Harrell, Carlos Torres, Jeff Marquez, Matt Zaleski and Daniel Hudson, all right-handers. ... The White Sox entered Thursday's action with 22 home runs this spring, their lowest total since moving to Arizona in 1998. ... Mark Kotsay's .400 mark topped the White Sox Cactus League averages.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.