Peavy pleased after bullpen session

Peavy pleased after bullpen session

CHICAGO -- Call it a gut feeling on the part of resident White Sox soothsayer and manager Ozzie Guillen, because it's not based in any sort of specific medical information.

But Guillen really believes Jake Peavy will be out on the field for the White Sox sooner than people think. That road back from a strained tendon in his right ankle, with a target arrival date for the end of August, began for Peavy on Sunday with a 50-pitch bullpen in which he threw all of his pitches.

"[I'm] just trying to get a feel to accelerate this thing as fast as we can to get back out there," said Peavy, after throwing off a mound for the first time since his injury. "Once again, you have to be smart about it, but it was a good day.

"The biggest thing was everything was pain-free. The ankle was a non-issue."

Peavy last pitched for the Padres on June 8 at PETCO Park against Arizona, allowing two earned runs over seven innings, while striking out eight. He had been in a protective boot for about six weeks, but has been running and riding the bike for the past couple of weeks.

Sunday's bullpen was a major step, and Peavy was to sit down with pitching coach Don Cooper, athlete trainer Herm Schneider and Guillen to map out what comes next. Peavy planned to return to San Diego on Sunday evening to work on getting into better overall physical condition.

He also figures to have a few more bullpen sessions, followed by a couple of Minor League starts, before the White Sox start considering Peavy for the rotation. But throwing that first bullpen off the mound, after playing catch on flat ground, seemed to give the veteran hurler an extra burst of confidence.

"To get out there 100 percent and pain-free was an ease to my mind, knowing I can get on the mound and go through my normal mechanics and be pain-free," Peavy said. "Now I can worry about getting my ankle strong enough to run and cut and field bunts, which shouldn't be a problem. The biggest thing from here on is getting the arm strength back to where it needs to be and then getting a feel for your pitches and throwing well where you need to be. That takes some time.

"Hopefully, in the next three or four weeks, we can make that happen and get back out there."

Watching the White Sox 14-4 victory over the Yankees on Saturday was invigorating, especially for a pitcher coming from a last-place team to a tight race for the American League Central title. Peavy joked that he would take his chances pitching with 14 runs of support. But despite Guillen's optimistic outlook, Peavy knows that caution will be the key in making sure he comes back at 100 percent.

Basically, Peavy finds himself in a Spring Training, starting-over situation.

"That's going to be the toughest thing, because you want to get in there and help as soon as possible," Peavy said. "But you have to understand when you don't throw and you are off for a little while, you aren't exactly who you are in midseason form. You just have to be smart about it as you come back.

"Everything went well, but I have a long way to go. As the starts pile up, I'm sure I'll get more comfortable on the mound and start helping in a big way."

Factoring in all of the injury-related intangibles, Guillen still believes Peavy could return at some point during an 11-game road trip to Boston, New York, Minnesota and Wrigley Field, starting on Aug. 24.

"I've got a feeling he's going to be out on the field sooner than what we think," Guillen said. "I don't know why, but the thing we've got going on right now, I think he sees his teammates, I think he sees the way we work here.

"We have one of the best trainers in the game. Our medical staff is very, very good, and I think that's one of the biggest reasons the organization took a shot at him. He's willing to do everything Cooper asks him."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.