After making his final pitch Wednesday night, Jake Peavy pointed toward the sky and pounded his glove.
That was quite a different reaction from the last time he was on the mound at U.S. Cellular Field.
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"It's a completely different feeling to be healthy and know that you have what it takes," Peavy said. "I walked off that same mound the last time I pitched here and a worse pain I never felt in my life. I knew something had torn loose in my arm and was down in my back."
That would have been Peavy's latissimus dorsi muscle, which completely detached during his July 6 home start against the Angels last season.
It could have easily been a career-ending injury, or at least sidelined Peavy for the entire 2011 season.
Instead, he looked a lot more like the guy who won the 2007 Cy Young Award with the Padres while pitching a complete-game shutout in the White Sox' 1-0 win over the first-place Indians.
Making his second start of the season, Peavy went the distance while throwing 111 pitches, 78 for strikes.
The 29-year-old right-hander limited the American League's top offensive team to just 3 hits and had 8 strikeouts and no walks.
Let the deserved praise begin.
Sox left fielder Juan Pierre: "A lot of fans around here haven't seen him at the top of his game. I faced him for many years in the National League, I was with the Dodgers and he was with San Diego, and he was a bulldog. Just what you saw tonight."
Designated hitter Adam Dunn (who had the lone RBI): "That's the Jake that I remember. I said all along he's a competitor; he's a gamer. It looked like his velocity was up tonight. I haven't seen him throw like that ... that's probably two or three years removed. The good thing is it looks like he's got his arm strength back."
True, since Peavy was still throwing 94 mph in the ninth inning when he struck out Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera to wrap it up and bag his ninth career complete game (fifth shutout).
Considering all of the pain, all of the hours of rehab, all of the criticism for trying to come back too soon, it was a marvelous night for Peavy.
"You have surgery that's deemed experimental, you just don't' know where your career can go from there," Peavy said. "To come back tonight and have the night we had with the boys, I told you guys this is as healthy as I've been in Chicago. I got traded to be the guy you saw tonight and I will do everything I can do to be that guy."
In his 2011 debut, against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif., last week, Peavy was limited to 87 pitches and he got a no-decision after allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings.
With a week off, he came back like a lightning bolt and earned his first win since beating the Cubs on June 25.
"I tip my hat to this man," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Cy Young Award winner, great pitcher, to come back that means he wants to help this ballclub. I see him in a hurry to come back. I put myself in that position and I say poor White Sox, you have to wait two to three years for me to come back because I have two to three years on my contract.
"This guy went all over the United States, traveled all over the place to see doctors and rehab assignments just to see what you see today."