DETROIT -- The first half of the 2013 season will close with Jake Peavy pitching for Double-A Birmingham in Huntsville in a Minor League rehab start on Sunday. And Dylan Axelrod, who has made 18 first-half starts for the White Sox, will be available out of the bullpen this weekend in Philadelphia.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura isn't sure how the rotation will shake out past this weekend, depending on how Peavy and his healing fractured rib respond and potential moves made by general manager Rick Hahn.
"We've got enough days to kind of figure that out," Ventura said of the rotation. "I wouldn't see Q [Jose Quintana], he's throwing the last day on Sunday, so I wouldn't see him being the first guy out of the chute. It also depends on what Chris [Sale] does going to the All-Star Game and how they use him."
Peavy, who last pitched on June 4 in Seattle before going to the disabled list with a fractured rib in his left side, threw a 76-pitch simulated game Tuesday in Detroit, covering four innings. He would prefer to start for the White Sox Sunday in Philadelphia, but that idea was voted down by the organization.
There's clearly a desire to have Peavy as close to completely healthy as possible when he comes back. It would benefit the veteran right-hander, as well as the White Sox, who could be showcasing Peavy for a deal before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But the biggest focus is to not ratchet up the intensity too quickly without a little work in between.
"That would be foolish to try to send him out there in a Major League game, and risky," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who said Peavy could go as many as six innings on Sunday. "Could he probably do it? Yeah. But is it a smart move? No.
"What we are really looking for is to continue to feel good before, during and after. So that frees him up for hopefully the next start here with us after the break. That's the main thing for me."
Axelrod could be the odd starter out when Peavy returns, but it's too soon to make a guess as to how the rotation will be configured one week from now. He needs to get back to his April and May form, as opposed to the 29 earned runs on 53 hits he has allowed in his last six starts, including seven runs and 11 hits in a loss to the Tigers on Wednesday.
"He just knows how to pitch," Ventura said about Axelrod. "[Wednesday] night wasn't his normal stuff. He just kept going softer instead of trying to speed it up and kind of get in that hitting speed. He went below it just to kind of keep them off guard."