06/24/12 9:10 PM ET
Peavy says goodbye to close friend Akerfelds
Padres bullpen coach passes away Sunday from pancreatic cancer
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Akerfelds had been battling pancreatic cancer since being diagnosed approximately 19 months ago after undergoing back surgery, but his fight appeared to be coming to a close. Yet, after that visit, Akerfelds still made it another two months through sheer will and determination before succumbing to the disease Sunday afternoon.
"It's been inspiring," said Peavy of the fight shown by his friend. "To get the news he had given to him, he knew the percentages, he knew what he was up against.
"Just the attitude he kept. This guy was laying on his death bed sending me texts, encouraging me after a bad start. It was amazing to me.
"His friendship meant the world," Peavy said. "He was a little bit of everything to me: he was a dad, he was a brother, a mentor and a best friend there in San Diego. It has been a tough last 24 hours. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. I knew things were headed south."
In conjunction with the Jake Peavy Foundation, Peavy put together "A Day with Jake Peavy" charity raffle with proceeds from this unique fundraiser benefiting Peavy's Foundation and Pancreatic Cancer Research. This idea was originated in honor of Akerfelds, who maintained his job as the San Diego Padres bullpen coach while he valiantly battled this illness, and was also dedicated to Peavy's maternal grandmother, Dama Lolley, and her own cancer battle.
This raffle raised more than $50,000. The winners, Terry and Lynn Iker, were selected on June 12, which also happened to be Akerfelds' 50th birthday.
"I'm happy we ended the raffle on his birthday," Peavy said. "He made 50 years old. He was excited about the raffle and the money we raised and that we were doing it in his honor. He was a little shy and any attention he received. He's in a better place and he's not in the pain he was in last night."
Danks dealing with 'process' of rehab
CHICAGO -- John Danks has talked about his disdain for down time caused by a trip to the disabled list, which the durable southpaw experienced for the first time in his career last season due to a strained right oblique. But dealing with the unknown associated with his first shoulder injury, a Grade 1 strain of the subscapularis muscle to be exact, makes this current bout of inactivity even more trying.
"It's a process, I understand that," Danks said. "The hardest part for me is listening to my body and knowing exactly when stuff I feel is just soreness and being able to determine whether it's something I can throw through or back off.
"This is all new to me. So, that's kind of been the hardest part. That, and being impatient, wanting to get back out there."
Danks played catch on Sunday, as he continues his injury rehab program under the watchful eye of White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider. If all goes well, Danks could return some time at the end of July or early August but he's not setting any sort of timetable.
"Obviously we are doing everything we can to expedite that," said Danks, who is 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA over nine starts this season. "But at the end of the day I have to listen to my body. Certainly that's definitely something that you are going to have to keep yourself from getting down, just because things aren't progressing quite like we'd like."
Reed gifted with great attitude and ability
CHICAGO -- Attitude seems to be almost as important as ability where closing is concerned. White Sox closer Addison Reed has been blessed with both.
"I don't know if it's arrogance. It's just confidence," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the rookie, who is 9-for-10 in save situations. "All closers have a certain amount of it. He has it. In his situation, he's never come in and looked scared or unconfident at all."
Reed actually thrives on tough situations, such as the one he pitched out of in the eighth inning during Saturday's 8-6 victory, retiring Corey Hart with the bases loaded and protecting a one-run White Sox lead. As for picking up his first career four-out save, Reed just looked at it as a chance to have more fun on the mound. It's all part of that inherent desire to become a closer he's possessed since his college days at San Diego State.
"You know, I was told he had it already," said Ventura of Reed possessing that attitude before making the big league club. "I just noticed from Spring Training on, talking to different people who had him in the Minors. That's the way he came. It wasn't like he didn't have it before he got here."
Managing increased workload key for young pitchers
CHICAGO -- Nate Jones is fast approaching his career-high for games pitched at 42, with the right-hander having appeared in 28 entering Sunday's series finale with the Brewers. Hector Santiago isn't far off from his high-water mark of 38, sitting presently at 23.
It's a concern for the White Sox how these young pitchers will hold up in August and September, with the extra innings and extra pressure of a contending team. But it's not a present worry.
"That's the one thing of having younger guys," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You are going into an area they haven't been in yet. It's about playing the game and for them to stay focused. Instead of having them worry about it, we'll think about that stuff."
Jones has allowed seven earned runs on 11 hits in his last seven games, covering five innings, and has a 4.19 ERA over his last 17 appearances. But even with his less-than-best stuff Saturday, Jones still managed to make a big pitch, retiring Ryan Braun on a fly ball to right with the bases loaded in the sixth to keep the White Sox in a game they eventually won.
"To me, he's just another guy I have to attack that I have to throw strikes to," said Jones, who credits the shoulder program of head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and the strength and conditioning program of director of conditioning Allen Thomas for how strong he presently feels. "That's all I try to do. No matter who is up there."
Third to first
Dylan Axelrod is expected to start Thursday at Yankee Stadium, although manger Robin Ventura didn't completely confirm that start on Sunday.
"I would imagine he is the guy," Ventura said.
A second-inning error charged to Dayan Viciedo on George Kottaras' run-scoring double Saturday night was changed Sunday by the official scorer, meaning Axelrod was charged with a fifth earned run and Kottaras picked up an RBI. Viciedo's errorless streak also stayed intact at 85 straight games.