Peavy: Tigers, not Sox, are team to beat

Jake Peavy will not concede the 2013 American League Central Division race to any other team. However, the veteran pitcher, who signed a two-year, $29 million contract to return to the White Sox in November, believes that the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers should be considered the favorites to win.

“I am not going to say the White Sox are the team to beat because we are not," Peavy said during SoxFest in Chicago. “The Tigers are the team to beat. They are the AL Central and league champion.”

The White Sox had a three-game lead on Detroit on September 13. The club went into a prolonged slump and lost 10 of the next 12 games. Peavy and his teammates are still feeling the pain of that late-season meltdown. The White Sox led the division for 117 days during the 2012 campaign but lost 12 of 18 games to Detroit during the season.

"Are we sitting here feeling like we are conceding?" Peavy asked. “This team will not concede anything until we are mathematically eliminated and we all believe that is not going to happen. We know we have enough talent to play with the Tigers. There is not a player in this room who was on our team last year that doesn’t think we can beat that team. It is just up to us to outwork them and outplay them when it comes down to it."

Peavy has had a relaxing offseason, not requiring rehab from any type of injury for the first time in four years. "It has been a nice offseason when you have some stability to your life and to your health, that is a big thing. I had a normal routine last year, but there were so many questions about my health. This year, we haven’t had any of that.”

Although Peavy was in the mix for comeback player of the year in 2012, his 11-12 record bothers the never-satisfied former Cy Young award winner.

“That bothered me," he said. “I never pitch for numbers and never just pitch for wins and losses. That said, it hurts when you feel like you did not win as many games as you should have for your team. I want to win. My fifth day is about winning and losing to me, not about how many scoreless innings I can pitch. Obviously, runs were hard to come by in my starts. I was not upset because of my record. I was upset we lost."