Rehab start likely Peavy's next step in comeback

Rehab start likely Peavy's next step in comeback

Rehab start likely Peavy's next step in comeback

DETROIT -- Jake Peavy would like to pitch in Philadelphia as part of the White Sox first-half finale Sunday afternoon.

After throwing a 76-pitch simulated game Tuesday at Comerica Park, self-described as a step up from his Friday bullpen session in St. Petersburg, Peavy feels ready to get Major League hitters out.

Peavy also understands the full process in coming back from the fractured rib in his left side, meaning that he most likely will be starting Sunday for Double-A Birmingham as part of a Minor League rehab assignment.

"I'm going to hold on to it until I get on that flight. You know me," said Peavy with a laugh, referring to his preference for pitching in the games that count. "But I certainly respect [White Sox general manager] Rick [Hahn] and the front office and the coaching staff. Whatever they think is best, at the end of the day, I'm going to have to bow to that."

"When you're watching him throw, it was pretty free and easy," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "That's the good stuff that you like see coming from him. There was no wincing or the extra stretching guys will do when they're coming back."

The simulated game setup featured Peavy throwing 76 pitches. He got up and down four times as if he was working in between innings, throwing 22 pitches in the first, 17 in the second, 20 in the third and 17 in the fourth.

Brent Morel, Blake Tekotte and Casper Wells were among the five batters Peavy faced, giving him looks from both righties and lefties, with Tyler Flowers behind the plate. Flowers' lone slight negative involving Peavy dealt with leaving his slider arm side, although the catcher added that the slider is not a pitch Peavy uses frequently.

"His cutter was outstanding, probably the best I've ever seen it. Tight, hard, late action," Flowers said. "He had a great feel for that, locating it, front door on righties and throwing it in to lefties, away to righties.

"His curveball was very good, which is usually the last pitch in his repertoire, but he dropped five or six in there real nice. The changeup was very good, too. He located a number of those to a couple of lefties and actually to a couple of righties. We were doing it as real at-bats. We threw 2-0 changeups to righties and got a swing and miss and a foul ball.

"All in all, I thought it was really good," Flowers said. "At the beginning, his fastball command was pretty good. The last two innings, his fastball command was great. He was hitting spots, running the two-seamer back door on righties and front door on lefties. He looked probably better than normal in my opinion."

Arm and leg strength for Peavy is returning after three weeks of inactivity, with the right-hander crediting director of conditioning Allen Thomas and Minor League conditioning coordinator Dale Torborg for designing workouts to facilitate that improvement. It's uncertain whether Peavy will need more than the one rehab start to return from the disabled list, where he has been retroactive to June 5, but he wants to get back to the team as soon as possible.

"It's the worst spot on the roster you can be in," said Peavy. "It's extremely tough when your team is struggling. You feel so helpless. It's probably the reason I made the last start in Seattle, knowing deep down that I probably shouldn't have been out there. It was evident I had no business on a Major League field.

"You want to be so badly that guy to stop the losing streak, to create some kind of spark that gets the team going in another direction. So that's been the toughest part, to try to be as positive as you can and not get down in the dumps when you feel helpless."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.