Standings may determine Peavy's plan

Standings may determine Peavy's plan

MINNEAPOLIS -- The proverbial white flag of American League Central surrender certainly has not been raised by manager Ozzie Guillen or any of his on-field charges. But that fact doesn't mean the White Sox aren't realists.

They are in a bad situation right now, with nine losses in their last 11 games entering Tuesday's showdown at the Metrodome, while sinking to six games out of first and 2 1/2 games behind second-place Minnesota. If those fortunes continue to sag, then expect more changes.

Not changes such as Monday night's trades of Jim Thome and Jose Contreras, but more along the lines of pitcher Jake Peavy being shut down for the season. Guillen made that point clear to the media during his Tuesday interview session.

"Believe me, if we fall more and I don't think deep inside my heart and my guts that we have a chance, I will tell [general manager Kenny Williams] and [pitching coach Don Cooper] to just shut him down and wait for next year," said Guillen of the ace hurler, acquired from San Diego at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. "I am honest with myself.

"It's funny, because you can tell the fans anything you want. But when you go to sleep and think about how good you are or how bad you are, you're not lying. I'm not lying to myself."

By Guillen's rough guess, Peavy getting hit by a Wes Timmons line drive in his right elbow during last Monday's Minor League rehab start at Triple-A Gwinnett set the right-hander back by a couple of weeks. Peavy said following Monday's 4-1 loss that an MRI showed his elbow to be structurally sound, but there was fluid and swelling in the elbow and he was unable to play catch without feeling soreness.

Peavy left early from his fourth rehab start last Saturday at Norfolk, Va. And at this point, Guillen is not really counting on the prized acquisition contributing in 2009.

"When Peavy says, 'Ozzie, I'm ready to go,' I'll pencil him in," Guillen said. "I never said, 'I hope he pitches that day.' When he's ready, we'll put him in. If I don't think he's ready, I don't think we should take the risk. We've got to wait and see how he's going to be when he gets better with his arm.

"Now, he's got to go back and start throwing again. The rehab assignment is going to be done because Triple-A is done. There's a lot of things out there I can't count on. I want it, but in the meanwhile, I don't want people to put pressure on this guy to go out and do something he's not supposed to do. I want it, I need him, yes, but I don't want to take a chance."

Much of Peavy's immediate future will depend on how his elbow responds to treatment. But part of the answer also will come from the White Sox getting back on track and getting back into AL Central contention.

"Do we have a shot? Of course," Guillen said. "If we keep playing like this, are we going to have a shot? No chance. I said that two weeks ago. If we continue to play like that, believe me, we're not going to do it."

"You know there are crucial times at certain points of the season where they have to make decisions on things," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "All you hope is you don't put them in those spots other than to obtain more to keep trying to win. We didn't do that, so we have to take our medicine on that. I don't feel ashamed, embarrassed or guilty because I know everybody in here is giving everything they got and they will continue to do that."

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