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02/24/11 4:08 PM EST

Peavy 'far ahead' of own expectations

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy said he felt fine on Thursday a day after throwing a 40-pitch side session. Peavy is penciled in on March 4 to make his first start of the spring in Chicago's fifth Cactus League game -- against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz.

That would place Peavy on target to start the fifth game of the regular season on April 6 against the Royals at Kansas City, barring any regression from surgery this past season to repair a detached muscle in his right shoulder.

"I'm far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point," Peavy said. "But I can't push it and I've got to be cautious."

Manager Ozzie Guillen said Peavy would've been his Opening Day starter if completely healthy, but he has backed him up this spring to the rear of the five-man rotation behind Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Edwin Jackson just to give him some extra time to recover. Guillen said on Thursday that Buehrle will be his Opening Day starter on April 1 against the Indians in Cleveland, barring anything "drastic" happening.

Guillen admitted he is surprised that the 29-year-old Peavy, a National League Cy Young Award winner with the Padres in 2007, has progressed as quickly as he has.

"I'm very surprised, very happy and very concerned," Guillen said. "You never know. This guy has had a very tough injury. But I talk to him every day. He feels better. I think he's tired, it's getting old with people on our club asking him how he feels. But that's our job. He gives us good answers every time we ask him."

Buehrle to make ninth Opening Day start

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Barring any injury or calamity, left-hander Mark Buehrle will be the Opening Day starter for the White Sox on April 1 against the Indians in Cleveland, manager Ozzie Guillen said on Thursday.

Buehrle, 13-13 with a 4.28 ERA in 33 starts during 2010, is "a no-brainer," Guillen said, adding that he needs to run the decision past general manager Kenny Williams and pitching coach Don Cooper before making it completely official. It would be Buehrle's ninth Opening Day start and he's 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his previous eight.

"I think if you talked to Coop or Kenny, they won't have any problem with that," Guillen said after his club finished a morning workout at its Camelback Ranch complex. "It's Buehrle unless something drastic happens. It's a no-brainer. It's not official, but you can say it. Buehrle is going to be our Opening Day guy."

Cooper and Guillen also penciled out the starting pitching for the first five Cactus League games with Gavin Floyd opening against the Dodgers in Glendale on Monday. Buehrle is slated for Tuesday here against the Brewers; Edwin Jackson follows against the Reds on Wednesday at Goodyear, Ariz., John Danks is scheduled for next Thursday against the Mariners, with Jake Peavy tentatively slotted for March 4 vs. the Angels in Tempe, Ariz.

"Everything has been going so smooth," Guillen said. "Each day is great when you come off the field and no one is hurt. If you're a coach or manager, the fun starts when the games start. We'll have an opportunity to see these guys and let them get their work in."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.