Peavy wins, says he has more in the tank

BOSTON -- The cushy part of Jake Peavy's return to the major leagues is nearly complete.

Still pitching out of a six-man rotation as the White Sox do their best to assist his transition back to major-league life, Peavy has one more start remaining on extended rest.

On Monday, it hardly looked as if he needed the extra downtime, pitching seven solid innings in a 7-3 victory over the Red Sox with his father and grandfather in attendance. Peavy allowed three runs on six hits with no walks.

“I think my arm is still getting stronger,” Peavy said. “It’s tough on a daily basis to grind through it and see how your arm is going to feel, coming back from this surgery. It’s been different. With rest you feel like a million bucks. And sometimes you don’t and it gets kind of frustrating. But I’ve got enough to compete and pitch.”

With Thursday’s off day, Peavy is expected to get five days off before returning to the mound Sunday at home against Detroit. After that, the White Sox are expected to be back to a five-man rotation meaning Peavy’s training wheels will be removed.

So far, there is nothing to make anybody think Peavy can’t handle the challenge. Since his complete game shutout over the Indians on May 18, Peavy had thrown just three innings, in a rain-shortened start last week at Texas.

There’s no doubting Peavy’s competitive fire. He promised to bring some energy upon his return, saying as much back in April when the team was scuffling and his return date was still in question.

He brought that Monday, although he lost battles to former teammate Adrian Gonzalez (a solo home run in the first) and Dustin Pedroia (a two-run single in the third). Otherwise he scratched and clawed and gave the White Sox enough to win. What excites him is that he can tell he has more in the tank, which should come out with more starts.

“I hope so; I hope I just get stronger,” Peavy said. “Like I said, it has been a constant battle. Some days I go out there and on Day 3 I feel better than I do on Day 5. It’s kind of piecing it together. I’m going to take some time and maybe alter my pregame program and try to throw a little bit longer and see if I can get a little bit looser than I’ve been getting.”

Peavy said that in his starts so far this season, the first two innings have been spent getting his arm loose. He hopes throwing more before his starts will help him feel free when the game begins.

Regardless of how his arm felt Monday, he was going to dig deep. His father, Danny, and grandfather, Sonny, were in town from Alabama.

“He’ll be on cloud nine,” Peavy said about his grandfather. “My dad gets extremely nervous. Papa probably handed him a cold beer or two to calm his nerves. But he’ll be excited because he loves to win. Just good ol’ Southern folks who don’t get out much. They are just as excited to stay in a Ritz Carlton. You figure working on about 10 years in this league, they get used to it every now and then. But they feel so out of place at the hotel. It’s funny to watch and see.”

Not much has looked out of place during Peavy’s return so far. A 2-0 record and a 3.24 ERA isn’t bad before the calendar has even flipped to June, especially when considering the struggles he went through this spring.