For Peavy, team is the most important thing

For Peavy, team is the most important thing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With Mark Buehrle set to make his franchise-record eighth Opening Day start on Monday, the story can be told once again as to how that nod almost went to Jake Peavy.

It's a tale that only adds to the growing legend that is the White Sox ace right-hander.

"I didn't know that story was going to get out, any of it," said Peavy, talking about how he pushed for Buehrle to get the Opening Day call. "I just called [pitching coach Don Cooper], and we talked about it. He told me it looked like they were going in another direction [from Buehrle], and I couldn't get at peace with going out there and doing that.

"Mark really is deserving of that start. That's also a good message to send to this clubhouse, to our fans, even to Mark. We are saying, 'Hey, listen, we have a couple of No. 1 starters here, so run them all out there.' From one through five, we are as good or as solid as anyone in the game. It's something I truly believe."

Peavy was set to finish his preseason work with a start on Thursday night against Triple-A Charlotte in front of an excepted full house. He then makes his 2010 regular-season debut on Wed., April 7, against the Indians.

The 6.55 ERA over 11 Cactus League innings certainly isn't what Peavy's looking for when the season begins. Then again, there's a good chance he won't throw 96 percent fastballs during a given game, as he did on March 22 in Surprise against Kansas City (71 of 74 pitches).

Ultimately, Peavy doesn't care if his individual numbers look good. As has been talked about multiple times this spring, Peavy is a team guy, first and foremost.

"When I take the ball every fifth day, I'm trying to win, and I don't care how it has to happen," he said. "I don't care if it happens 7-6 or 1-0. If I walk away from that night and the White Sox have won, I've done my job. It's the bottom line. This game is about winning.

"I'm excited about this season. I expect a lot of myself, talked about as a No. 1 guy and game-changer. I certainly believe I'm going to do all I can and have characteristics and qualities of a No. 1 starter. But I just want to make it clear. Mark Buehrle has done some incredible things here. It's his team. He's beloved in Chicago.

"Where I fit in the rotation doesn't matter much to me. It doesn't matter who starts Opening Day or Game 5. We all believe we have a job to do, and we are going to do it."