Peavy knows Sox' gamble includes him
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White Sox starter Jake Peavy says, "I want to be here for this team, but I can't make any promises." Peavy continues to battle a post-surgical lack of endurance and velocity.
The all-in White Sox have not gone all out, as some fans had feared and others had encouraged.
But barring further transactions, they're not quite as far in as they were a few days ago.
One reason is the six-man rotation that protected Jake Peavy and Philip Humber is now at five with the departure of Edwin Jackson.
And Peavy said Wednesday before the White Sox defeated the Tigers 2-1 on the South Side that he's nowhere near 100 percent, and is well aware of his 75-pitch wall.
"I want to be here for this team, but I can't make any promises," Peavy said as we stood near the hitting cages under the stands. "I'll prepare mentally and physically as best I can and let the chips fall.
"But I have a long way to go before I get back to who I want to be. It's obviously not going to happen this year."
It's been just over a year since Peavy suffered a torn lat that cost him not just last season but an off-season of training, all of which would explain the lack of velocity and endurance.
"I see signs that excite me," Peavy said. "For a couple innings (Tuesday) night I had some stuff that felt like the pre-Chicago stuff. But the bottom line is arm strength."
And a lack of arm strength is the reason he's been cashing out at about 75 pitches.
As for whether there will be a point down the stretch when he can be effective beyond that pitch limit, Peavy said, "I certainly hope so, but I don't know when and where it's going to come back.
"I'm looking forward to a normal winter of training that will get me back to where I'm supposed to be. But for now I can't think about anything but this race. I have to have a couple big months and give my team a chance to win every time out.
"I know I'm not me yet, not back to being where I was a couple years ago, but I'm on my way back."
It's probably unreasonable to think the Peavy of the next two months — if he can stay on the mound — will look much different from the Peavy of the last two months.
In particular, it hasn't been pretty the last month after a 55-pitch relief appearance on two days' rest. In the 5 starts since, Peavy has gone 0-3 with a 6.67 ERA and an opponents' batting average of .333.
"My arm felt great that day but it definitely set me back a little," Peavy said. "There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. Strength-wise, it really took a toll, but the time off at the break helped and that (8 days off) was some much-needed rest.
"After that (relief stint June 25), I wasn't even throwing 90 mph. I was at like 85-88. (Tuesday) night in the first inning I was throwing cutters at 90 mph, so it's all about arm strength.
"I felt much better against Kansas City and then (Tuesday) night I felt great for about 75 pitches, but it's nothing like pre-Chicago when I could let it all hang out from the first pitch. Now I'm hitting that wall there.
"I hope it gets better but arm strength is an issue, and considering the last year and the surgery and all, that's where we are."
So it's a gamble giving up a starter, but GM Ken Williams saved $9.5 million Wednesday — something he said he needed to do — got himself a righty reliever in Jason Frasor to take the load off Jesse Crain, and the Sox believe they picked up a future starter in righty Zach Stewart.
Williams says he may still buy if given the opportunity and creativity, while the call-up of Alejandro De Aza paid off immediately as Alex Rios sat and watched De Aza hit a 2-run homer and play a flawless center field.
"It's a message to everyone," Williams said. "I told Ozzie (Guillen), 'Do not worry about the size of someone's contract.' It's not Ozzie's problem and it's not Jerry Reinsdorf's problem and not the coaches' problem. It's my problem.
"If we have $30 million on the bench, that's my problem."
It wasn't a problem Wednesday as John Danks tied a career high with 10 strikeouts, Chris Sale was brilliant for 2⅔ innings of relief, and the Sox moved back to within 3˝ games of Detroit.
"We continue to fight," Guillen said. "This series is over and now we have to worry about the next one."
It's probably safe to say it won't be the last worry for Guillen this season.
• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM. Follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.
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