Jake Peavy open to joining bullpen

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jake Peavy has informed the Chicago White Sox that he is open to pitching out of the bullpen when he returns from the disabled list.

The White Sox right-hander threw a brief bullpen session Tuesday and the club announced he will make a rehab start Thursday at Triple-A Charlotte. He could be back as early as next Tuesday's game against the Cubs.

Whether or not Peavy returns as a reliever remains to be seen. Pitching on back-to-back-to-back days, or even every other day, could provide as much of an injury risk as pitching six or seven innings every five days.

"I'll do whatever needs to happen and I made that known to (pitching coach Don Cooper) and (manager) Ozzie (Guillen)," Peavy said. "I'll do whatever they think I can do to help the club in any way. I think they know that."

The White Sox were in a six-man rotation before Peavy was injured and Guillen has made it clear that he would prefer using a five-man rotation the rest of the way.

"I just think we got five guys going pretty good right now," Peavy said. "We've taken some heat about the six-man rotation. Are we doing the right thing or wrong thing? I'm just letting them know my end of the deal. I'll do whatever I can do to help.

"Do I think I can pitch out of the bullpen? Absolutely. I think I can help. But I'm certainly not opposed to me being in the six-man rotation, either. We'll see what happens."

Informed of Peavy's plan before Tuesday's game, Guillen was momentarily taken aback. But Tuesday's rain delay and subsequent postponement against the Twins gave Guillen the opportunity to talk to general manager Kenny Williams. Guillen said the White Sox will likely take a pass on Peavy's offer.

"We did talk to Kenny about it," Guillen said. "Kenny wasn't too sure about that. We appreciate but I think it's too early to concern ourselves about bullpen stuff (with Peavy). We appreciate that because he wants to help."

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was even more definitive in his assessment of the situation.

"I talked with Peavy before he talked to the press," Cooper told ESPN 1000's "Gamenight." "We had a sideline ... Jake Peavy's gonna be a starter for us. I kicked (the idea of Peavy moving to the bullpen) around, thinking out of the box a little bit. There's a dang good chance we are going to be going back to a six-man rotation. That kind of blew everyone's mind, (but) we did well with a six-man rotation (and) if our guys continue to throw well, we'll stay with it. If somebody stops throwing the ball well, you know will consider going to a five-man. Right now we're leaning to a six-man. We'll see what that brings."

Peavy is making $17 million this season, so using him as a long reliever doesn't make financial sense. But if relieving helps him to stay healthy then it's better than not having him contribute at all.

Peavy is confident the White Sox will be in the race at the end of the season and he wants to be a part of that.

"If this team gets in the playoffs, this team can certainly win a championship," Peavy said. "That's all you can ask. The common goal when we're on the flights and sitting around, talking with the guys is to grind it out and just try to get in. Do all we can do to get in and give this team a chance because we do feel we have a great chance to win a championship if we do get in."

Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.