Like a bull in a Camelback Ranch souvenir shop, Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy has been powering his way through spring training. Recovering from reattachment surgery involving the latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder, the right-hander has made four starts totaling 15.1 innings and looked so good that, up until yesterday, he appeared well on his way to claiming the last spot in the team's starting rotation to start the season.â†µ
Then Peavy stepped in it. The team has announced that the 2007 Cy Young Award winner appears to have rotator cuff tendinitis in his right shoulder. That means Peavy won't start against the Chicago Cubs in an interleague spring training game this week Thursday. In fact, precisely when he'll next appear on the mound is yet to be determined and, make no mistake, manager Ozzie Guillen will be making that determination. He told mlb.com:â†µ
Jake Peavy will pitch the day I tell him to pitch. He's not going to convince me. I don't care, we went through it. When he tells me "Skip, I'm ready to pitch," I give him another couple of more days to recover. That's the way we do stuff.â†µ
If Ozzie sounds a little defensive in that quote, it's because Guillen's taking fire from a number of Sox analysts on how he's perhaps done less than enough on keeping that bull corralled this spring. Why, just this past Saturday, Peavy took the mound while still battling the effects of stomach flu and threw almost six innings of baseball, facing 23 batters. Should the Sox, a team that has been among the best in the big leagues at keeping its players healthy, have been more cautious with Peavy? Probably.â†µ
The good news is, though Jake's name is certainly recognizable, his presence on this year's roster isn't an absolute necessity -- at least not to start the season. As mentioned, the team was counting on him to be only the No. 5 starter. In his presumed absence, 28-year-old journeyman Phillip Humber will likely take his place in the rotation. And, with a starting lineup still filled with great potential for slugging and four other starting pitchers projected to bring plenty of value, that's OK.