03/01/12 6:26 PM EST
Peavy believes unique injury is behind him
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
But the three words uttered by Jake Peavy prior to Thursday's workout should serve as music to the ears of White Sox fans at any time of year.
"I feel awesome," said Peavy, sitting in front of his locker before taking the field.
Peavy has been slightly hampered by a right eye infection that has all but cleared up. As far as his mound work is concerned, well, the right-hander feels great.
Upon arriving at camp, some 19 months removed from surgery to reattach his lat muscle, Peavy spoke about carrying a sense of encouragement for this upcoming season and how he was as healthy as he possibly could be. On Thursday, Peavy took another stab at defining that particular health assessment.
"Getting back to the form that I used to be, I believe that's a real possibility," Peavy said. "But I can't tell you what exactly I'm going to have. As games in spring go on and you start to progress and get some arm strength going toward the end of the spring, I'll have an idea of what I'm going to be able to do.
"You'll still get stronger and kind of identify yourself that first month of the season. I'm looking forward to seeing how things progress, and really what I have and velocity-wise and how I'm going to be able to bounce back.
"It's all yet to be seen. Last year was a straight trial run, and I was up and down. They told me, 'Hey, you are not where you are going to be.' But now I'm past that 18-month window where they said you are as good as you are going to get."
When Peavy made his first comeback attempt from his unique surgery last spring, there also was talk about him feeling good before his arm just didn't bounce back like he wanted near the end of Spring Training. The difference one year makes is huge for the veteran hurler.
"Oh, no doubt about it," Peavy said. "Yeah, it's fun to go play catch. It's fun to throw. You are not worried about anything. ... It's a different feeling than I've had the past few years."
"For me, you're looking for a little twinge, facial expression, something that you can see something's going wrong," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "But velocity and everything, he's looking great."
Humber gets the call for Cactus opener
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Philip Humber gets the honor of making the White Sox first 2012 Cactus League start, taking to the mound Monday for the contest against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.
"I'm excited for it," said Humber, who is set to throw one inning. "I haven't really thought about it that deep. I think it's just probably how they have the stuff set up."
John Danks is set to start the team's Cactus league road opener on Tuesday in Tempe against the Angels, with Jake Peavy pitching Wednesday at home against the Brewers and Gavin Floyd on Thursday in Surprise against the two-time defending American League champs from Texas. With Chris Sale pitching Friday in Glendale against the Cubs, the opening rotation appears to be set up, although nothing official has been announced by manager Robin Ventura past Humber on Monday.
Jose Quintana starts Monday's "B" game against the Indians, with Simon Castro and Brian Bruney also pitching. Will Ohman, Jesse Crain, Addison Reed, Hector Santiago, Pedro Hernandez, Charlie Leesman and Nestor Molina pitch Monday after Humber, who is ready to test his early work in actual games.
"I feel under control. I feel the ball is coming out of my hand good and I'm throwing a lot of quality pitches," Humber said. "That's all you can hope for right now until you get in live game action. There will be adrenaline flowing and things like that, so you make sure to keep everything down and keep feeling good."
Molina making a strong impression
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The plan for Nestor Molina seemed simple -- get the talented right-hander his work, and then place him atop the Double-A Birmingham starting rotation to begin the 2012 regular season.
That path still figures to be the one traveled by Molina, but an impressive first week already turned in by the acquisition from Toronto in the Sergio Santos deal has put people on alert that Molina could contend for a big league bullpen spot.
"As an organization, you look at it and that's going to be a tough call, because obviously you want to give him his time and space to improve and grow," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "On the other hand -- he does that great -- you want the best guys to go with you. Again, we're going to see the games and see how that goes, but he looks great."
Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland and Chris Sale are just a few White Sox starters who began their Major League career in the bullpen.
Lillibridge to get plenty of work around infield
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Look for Brent Lillibridge to get his wish in regard to receiving plenty of infield playing time during the upcoming Cactus League schedule.
"He's going to be all over the place, and I believe he's an infielder that we can use," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He's excited to do that, too, so I want to see him at second, short and third, and we know he can play the outfield. But the majority of it, we'd like to give him infield time."
Lillibridge feels more confident with each day of his return to the infield, although he did take ground balls during pregame batting practice last year. With just five career games played at third base, Lillibridge lists footwork as the biggest issue for handling his least experienced spot.
"My preset footwork is good," Lillibridge said. "It's just making sure everything stays going forward, because it's a long throw and you really have to create a lot of footwork. To see B-Mo [Brent Morel], he's one of the best at it at a young age. It's good to watch him see how he works his footwork."
Danks goes clean-shaven for great cause
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the fourth straight year, John Danks had his head shaved to raise awareness for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. This foundation is committed to finding cures for childhood cancer and raised more than $1 million last year.
Jake Peavy gave Danks the clean shave on Thursday after practice, doing a better job than Mark Buehrle did last year according to Danks. Then again, Peavy had a new razor at his disposal.
"This isn't any big deal, this is the least I could do," said Danks, whose second cousin, Cooper, is in remission after the 4-year-old battled Leukemia. "I'm glad it helps. And hopefully, [awareness] will continue to grow."
Third to first
Adam Dunn continued to hit the ball hard to all fields during Thursday's batting practice.
White Sox players will be going through a media training session before Friday's workout.