Peavy ready for first Cactus League start

Jake Peavy will make his first start of the spring on Sunday against the Padres. AP Photo/Darron Cummings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy concluded his preparation for his first Cactus League start this weekend with a 50-pitch live batting practice session on Monday morning.

Peavy, who will start against the San Diego Padres on Sunday, was animated during his session, at times swearing at himself for missing his location against Sox minor leaguers. He said his relationship with pitching coach Don Cooper is positive yet fiery at times.

"Me and Coop are wired a lot the same," Peavy said. "We both have great passion in our approach to pitching. We get along just fine, and we never have had what I would call any crazy disagreements. That said we will speak our mind to each other about the way we see things. We have a good on- and off-the-field relationship."

In the early part of spring training, Peavy, like most veterans, will work on gaining arm strength with fastball command.

"When you command your fastball and get that in sync everything else follows in a natural way," Peavy said. "The rest of the pitches come along as we move closer to the start of the season."

Peavy, who signed a two-year, $29 million contract in November with a third year club option for $15 million, had quality starts in 23 of his 32 games, the third-best ratio in the American League. But the numbers that did not add up were the wins and losses -- a 10-11 record didn’t match his 3.37 ERA.

An Opening Day start April 1 against the Kansas City Royals seems a real possibility for Peavy.

"It really doesn't mean anything to me," Peavy said. "I have said it time and time again. Your best starter throws Opening Day. This is not a knock on any of the other guys, but Chris Sale is the best that we got talentwise, and he is going to be around here awhile. I expect him to be throwing Opening Day and that would be something I will enjoy watching."

Manager Robin Ventura is in no hurry to name his Opening Day starter, but the choice comes down to Sale and Peavy.

"I know the Opening Day pitcher has a lot to do with many things including matchups," Peavy said. "You can be a leader from any spot in the rotation. You can be the so-called No. 5 starter and be the leader. I learned a lot from guys who were not your prototypical top-of-the-rotation pitchers."