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08/13/09 5:30 PM ET

Fans can track Peavy's rehab start

Gameday ready to carry White Sox righty's Triple-A outing

Thursday is an off-day for the White Sox, but their fans have something to watch at night.

Jake Peavy is taking the mound.

The right-hander is scheduled to make his first rehab start for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights in Fort Mill, S.C. -- his first outing since his last start, on June 8 for the Padres. Peavy will face Pawtucket in this much-anticipated first step toward the White Sox rotation and an expected key role in a pennant race. Fans can follow Peavy's start live with Gameday. Peavy's first pitch is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. ET.

Peavy was acquired from the Padres at the very end of the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31 in exchange for pitchers Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard, Dexter Carter and Adam Russell.

The 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner threw a bullpen session on Monday and experienced no pain in his injured right ankle, so he may be ready to return to the Majors as soon as he builds up enough strength to pitch effectively. The tentative plan is for Peavy to make three Triple-A rehab starts, which would put him on pace to join the White Sox Aug. 28.

Peavy was 6-6 with a 3.97 ERA, one complete game and 92 strikeouts in 13 starts with the Padres this season. He has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a strained tendon in his right ankle.

At the time he was disabled, Peavy ranked among the NL leaders in starts (tied for first), strikeouts (third), strikeouts per nine innings (fourth with 10.14), opponents' average (eighth at .228), wins (tied for eighth) and baserunners per nine innings (ninth with 10.80).

Peavy last pitched in the Minors in 2004, when he made one rehab start at Double-A Mobile. Prior to that, the right-hander went 4-5 with a 2.80 ERA in 14 Double-A starts, also with Mobile, in 2002.

In case it actually matters, Peavy's first rehab assignment comes against the most desirable of opponents. Pawtucket ranks last in the 14-team International League in batting with a .231 team average and 385 runs scored. Peavy's start will add electricity to the Knights Stadium atmosphere, as Charlotte is 53-64 and Pawtucket is 52-63.

Kris Johnson (3-12, 6.10 ERA) will start opposite Peavy for Pawtucket.

Peavy's last start was against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 8. He won that decision, allowing seven hits and two earned runs over seven innings, striking out eight and walking two. Peavy grimaced after running out a sacrifice bunt and said that night, "Running is certainly not fun when your ankle isn't 100 percent."

Now it is time to see how far Peavy has come. It is time to see how he handles steps like that on the field, and it is time to watch his first actual step to the White Sox and an important summer. As off-days go, this figures to be one worth watching for White Sox fans.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.