Jake Peavy optimistic after start

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Despite getting knocked around a bit by the San Diego Padres and the obvious fatigue that set in near the end of his outing Monday, Jake Peavy remained optimistic.

The White Sox right-hander gave up three runs on six hits over four innings while throwing 69 pitches (49 for strikes) and insists that he really can be ready to break camp in the starting rotation.

"I felt OK, better than I expected," said Peavy, who worked through some soreness in his previous start last week against the Giants. "I made good progress today. I'm excited about the direction I went in. Obviously I worked on some things, found some flaws out there middle part of the game, worked on some things, stayed stubborn. I got good work in. It was a fun day. I climbed."

The results would beg to differ. He dominated the Giants for most of his last start, but gave up three runs in the fourth inning Monday, including a two-run home run to Mike Baxter. Yet at this point of his recovery, Peavy isn't thinking about wins and losses. It's just about getting his arm in shape for the season.

"I was a little bit nervous after that [first] start because I didn't bounce back the way I thought, but I tell ya, I put some hours in that training room and the weight room, and it certainly paid off," Peavy said. "I felt quite a bit better today. I think you guys saw the fatigue set in around that 50-60 pitch mark. We pushed the envelope staying out there and getting that pitch count up. That's the only way to get your arm back in shape and your stamina up."

With the regular season now just 2 ½ weeks away, the White Sox will have to make a decision on Peavy soon. If they have to, the White Sox can delay the fifth starter spot until April 10, or use a spot starter that day and not need the fifth spot again until April 20.

Whatever the White Sox decide, Peavy expects to be a full-time member of the rotation when he returns and not be skipped on occasion to help him get through the season.

"I certainly understand coming off an injury, but when I'm deemed healthy, I want the ball every time my spot comes around," Peavy said. "I'll certainly battle my authorities [and] I'll put up a pretty good fight to get the ball."

That competitive nature, though, is one aspect the White Sox are wrestling with as they determine when Peavy might be ready. The right-hander was trying to pitch through arm discomfort last year when his latissimus dorsi muscle detached from the bone.

Despite what manager Ozzie Guillen called the best progress he has witnessed yet on Peavy, the club is still weighing its options.

"I'm very optimistic he's going to be out there, but realistically I have to be prepared for Plan B," Guillen said. "We want him there very badly, but is it necessary we take the risk? That's the question we have to put in the air. That's a decision we have to make as an organization. That's one we have to make with the medical reports, with the trainers. It's not a decision that just comes from Ozzie. It has to come from everyone in the organization and that's why we have to be careful."

And it's not just Peavy's health or his spring-training results that will be weighed. Outside factors like the cold temperatures in April also will play a part.

The first time the fifth starter spot comes up is April 6 at Kansas City. That can be pushed back to April, 10, though, which is a day game in Chicago against the Tampa Bay Rays. If the White Sox wait until April 20 for Peavy to make his season debut, that would be at Tampa Bay in the controlled climate of a domed stadium.

"If I say right now he's on my team and all of a sudden he's not, it doesn't make any sense," Guillen said. "But that's the risk you take. Either way we are going to take a risk. We take him with us or we [don't] take him with us. We are going to take the best risk for the ballclub and for him.

"This kid is very valuable for us, and not just this year, but for years to come. That's why we have to be aware of what we do. That's why this decision will be pretty interesting."

Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.