08/26/09 7:35 PM ET
Peavy's long-toss session cut short
Ailing pitching elbow has righty unlikely to return Saturday
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
But on Wednesday evening, shortly after the White Sox cut short a session of long toss for the right-hander and bypassed a set bullpen session, the White Sox pitching coach made his opinion known regarding the Saturday rotation vacancy.
"To tell you the truth, sitting here right now, I'm believing, me, and me only, we haven't discussed it with [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] or [general manager] Kenny [Williams], but my opinion, right now, the best way to take care of Jake Peavy and do the best for Jake Peavy is to continue to play it by ear, see what he can do [Thursday], make one more start in the Minor Leagues," Cooper said. "To me then, we've taken care of everything the best you can take care of it.
"If you want to call it crossing the T's and dotting the I's, you can call it that. We're doing it the right way. We're not going to [mess] around with this."
With Saturday as the target date, Peavy was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. But that session has been pushed back to Thursday, with the prime area for concern now having moved from his right ankle to his pitching elbow.
Peavy has been out of action since June 8 due to a strained tendon in his right ankle, but he was encouraged by his third Minor League rehab effort on Monday at Gwinnett. During those five scoreless innings, Peavy also took a line drive off said pitching elbow, an unfortunate mishap that just might push back his White Sox debut to next week.
Extensive treatment from White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider and his staff made a definite improvement, according to Peavy. That improvement will get a better test when he attempts the bullpen session on Thursday.
"A Day 2 bullpen [Wednesday] will be heavier than a Day 3 bullpen," Peavy said. "I'd hope in the next two days I can get on the mound."
Cooper and Guillen are not without other options to take Saturday's starting spot. Jose Contreras still appears to remain out of play, and while D.J. Carrasco's name was mentioned on Wednesday, the White Sox don't want to weaken their middle relief for a spot start.
So, Minor Leaguers Daniel Hudson and Carlos Torres stand as the top choices, with Sergio Mitre getting the call for New York.
"You know what? We got some decisions to make," Cooper said. "You all know the names. No decision will be made until Friday or Saturday.
"Kenny has all the information now. He's coming to New York, so we'll have an idea. I wish I could give you more, but that's all I got. I have my feelings on it.
"Right now, it doesn't look like [Peavy] is going to be making that start," Cooper said. "[Thursday] we'll try again. We'll try and take it out again. Hopefully, we don't have to push him back a day for this, but again, each day is going to give us more information and that's kind of what we got."
The White Sox literally could wait until Saturday to make a decision, as Cooper mentioned. But the song remains the same where the team's thoughts on Peavy are concerned.
They want him back soon, but they don't want him to come back before he's ready.
"He's desperate to pitch," said Guillen, who spoke with Peavy after the shortened long toss on Wednesday. "I told him obviously we need him and want him and would like to have him on the mound. But like I keep saying day in and day out, we have to be patient and careful what we are doing."
"I know that if he wouldn't have gotten hit by the ball that he would be pitching Saturday [in New York]," Cooper said.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.