Friday's 3 2/3-inning effort for Double-A Birmingham was another step in the big league direction for Peavy, although his control wasn't exactly where he wanted during the 71-pitch, 43-strike performance. His arm felt better than it has in "quite a while," which could be tied in part to Peavy seeing his first real game action since a Cactus League contest against the A's on March 19.
"It was nice to get under the lights, come to the ballpark at 3 o'clock and be ready to pitch," said an upbeat Peavy, who gave up five hits and two unearned runs to the Biscuits, while striking out four and walking one. "You get in a jam and make pitches to get out of it. A little extra adrenaline gives you more fire in the belly.
"I made some good pitches and some bad pitches. Overall, I was very, very pleased the way the night went."
His last effort, a simulated Minor League intrasquad game last Sunday at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., covered four innings and 59 pitches. But that sort of game is controlled by the team, meaning Peavy's effort Friday was a better test for return from 2010 season-ending experimental surgery to reattach the tendon that anchors the latissimus dorsi muscle to the rear of the shoulder.
This comeback seemed to be cruising along through Spring Training, before a bout of rotator cuff tendinitis shut down Peavy after that start on March 19 against the A's. It was an expected setback, with medicine and gradually increasing the workload having Peavy on target for a potential late April start with the White Sox.
Of course if Peavy had his way, he would next be pitching for the White Sox on Wednesday against the A's at U.S. Cellular Field. Practicality comes before desire in this instance.
"I'm going to let those guys make the decision," said Peavy, referring to White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, general manager Ken Williams, manager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper. "When my pitch count is where it needs to be. ... I want to pitch in the big leagues five days from now. If it was up to me, I would throw 90 in the big leagues on Wednesday. That's not realistic.
"So you do what the team asks you to do, and be smart. I feel like my arm strength is getting there. I believe I'm going to get outs. If it was reasonable to have a starter on 75 or 90 pitches, I would pitch in the big leagues tonight.
"But you have to be reasonable," Peavy said. "I want to take the mound close to how I'm used to taking it -- for the most part healthy and feeling like I can go out and do what Edwin [Jackson] did [Thursday against the Rays] at times and on the days I don't have it, battle to keep the team in it."
The next start for Peavy comes April 13, and the right-hander could remain close to his Alabama home by staying with the Barons. He stayed in Alabama to complete the important Day 1 rehab stuff after a start, but will join the White Sox on Sunday for a few days.
The next goal for Peavy is to be with the White Sox full-time and as part of the starting rotation.