Jake Peavy unlikely to start Opening Day

ORLANDO -- Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said on Tuesday at Major League Baseball's general manager meetings that he's not counting on injured pitcher Jake Peavy to be ready on Opening Day.

Although Williams said Peavy's ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, the Sox's right-hander won't begin throwing until January.

Williams wants Peavy to take it slow.

"I'm preparing in my mind that this will be something that we take very slow and we're very careful with, so that we can make sure we get a solid, healthy season out of him and not have him less than full strength and less than all he can be," Williams said. "I'm not looking at April in my mind, but he may surprise me."

According to another major-league source, it may be as late as June before Peavy is ready to return from an injury few baseball players have suffered.

Peavy suffered a detached latissimus dorsi muscle under his right shoulder in July. It's a baseball injury that has occurred to very few pitchers. Peavy had a 7-6 record and 4.63 ERA in 17 starts before the injury.

Despite Peavy's injury, the White Sox think they have six starters to choose from going into next season.

Left-handers John Danks and Mark Buehrle and right-handers Gavin Floyd and Edwin Jackson give the team four formidable veterans to count on. The team was also impressed with reliever Tony Pena, who was solid as a late-season starter in 2010. He may be switched to the rotation in spring training. Rookie left-hander Chris Sale, the team's top pick in the 2010 draft, is also a viable starting candidate.

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com