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Baseball: Healthy Peavy would be difference-maker for Sox

March 30, 2011

By S.C. Zuba
Sports Columnist

In just a few short days, baseball season will be here.
The weather will begin to warm up, and the greatest time of the year will be upon us.

For the White Sox, though, one major question still looms. What will be the status of starting pitcher Jake Peavy this year?

Since the White Sox traded for Peavy during the 2009 season, Peavy has been, well, a bit of a dud. Riddled with injuries, the former Cy Young Award winner has been less than productive for the White Sox since his arrival.

When the White Sox first made this trade, it was clear Kenny Williams was swinging for the fences—and so far, it appears as though he struck out. Peavy just hasn’t panned out the way the White Sox had hoped. He hasn’t been healthy long enough to do what he’s capable of doing wearing black and white.

He’s been on the disabled list more than he has been healthy. Granted, when he is healthy, he is a perfect No. 2 to Mark Buehrle. The duo creates an impressive one-two punch at the top of the White Sox’s rotation.

Peavy’s campaign ended early last season when he suffered from a detached latissimus doris muscle—something that made doctors think he might miss the entire 2011 season. Well, Peavy has made great progress in rehabbing from his latest injury, and there was hope the hurler would start the 2011 season with the White Sox.

After a few rough outings this spring training, doctors concluded Peavy has right rotator cuff tendinitis, most likely caused from trying to do too much too soon.
Still, Peavy hopes to rejoin the White Sox by the end of April.

“You got to be able to throw 100-plus pitches in the big leagues if you’re going to start,” Peavy said. “You can’t come up and be hampering your team. So, you got to get to that number.”

Meantime, Peavy is throwing just 30 to 60 pitches during bullpen sessions as he works to rehab from his injuries.

A healthy Peavy can make all the difference for the White Sox. When he was at the top of his game last season, the White Sox were at the top of their game. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that as Peavy goes, the White Sox go, but it’s close.

The White Sox have a true ace in Buehrle, and if Peavy is healthy, it’s like they have a second ace. Not many teams can say that. You can’t say enough about what these two pitchers bring to this ball club.

It’s no secret the American League Central will be a tight race this season. My guess is it will be decided by fewer than five games. A healthy Peavy could be the difference between making the playoffs, or watching the Twins get swept in the first round—again.

Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at samuelczuba@gmail.com.

From the March 30-April 5, 2011 issue

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