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Command eludes Peavy in rehab start

Command eludes Peavy in rehab start

Don't judge Jake Peavy's second Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday night solely by the less-than-ideal raw results.

Peavy, working against Tampa Bay's Triple-A affiliate in Durham, was touched up for four runs (three earned) on five hits over four innings, including Joe Dillon's solo home run leading off the fourth. But this is an ongoing process for the All-Star right-hander, who has been sidelined with a strained tendon in his right ankle since June 9.

To get back to the White Sox on Aug. 28 at Yankee Stadium or sometime in the first week of September, Peavy is working through a Spring Training-like workload at the end of August.

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"I'm a long way from where I'm used to being," Peavy told reporters after his four-inning outing. "Think about it from where I am. My body feels like it's January.

"As the game went along, I tried to put some more effort and intensity into it. I just wasn't able to get to where I'm used to being. The command and velocity were not where they're gonna be."

Despite Peavy's critique of his command, he struck out five, hit one batter and didn't issue a walk while throwing 44 of his 67 pitches for strikes. Tuesday's effort represents a one-inning increase from his first start last Thursday at home for the Knights against Pawtucket, along with a bump up by 24 pitches.

Durham only went down in order in the third against Peavy. And if a high quality big league barometer is needed, Akinori Iwamura, the second baseman on the 2008 American League champions in the midst of his own rehab, finished 1-for-2 off of Peavy.

The ankle felt fine through everything Peavy did, calling the injury now the "least of my worries."

"I threw everything I had," Peavy said. "Just didn't have command of the breaking ball at all."

While Peavy and the White Sox both anxiously await his return to the rotation in the midst of this playoff push, Peavy has taken a pragmatic approach since he arrived in Chicago. He's scheduled to make his next start Sunday at Gwinnett, and as White Sox general manager Ken Williams pointed out before Peavy departed for Charlotte, the actual on-field results don't mean a thing.

It's all about Peavy feeling ready to compete at his optimum level before joining the White Sox, whether it's sooner or a little later.

"I have to be able to do certain things with the baseball to be the pitcher I know I can be," said Peavy, who has fanned 10 and walked one in his seven innings pitched over the two Minor League starts. "I threw five or six breaking balls in a row, just to try and execute them. The baseball stuff is going to come. Right now, I have to get my strength back.

"Bottom line, I've got to do the best thing for me and the organization. I want to make a wise decision. As bad as I want to be on a big league field helping the team win, you have to understand where you are physically. Right now, I don't believe I could take the field and throw seven [innings]."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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