Rienzo accepts torch from Peavy

August, 1, 2013
8/01/13
11:16
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Andre Reinzo AP Photo/Tony DejakAndre Rienzo, who takes over Jake Peavy's spot in the rotation, is scheduled to start Sunday in Detroit.
CLEVELAND -- Before Jake Peavy departed for Boston, he bestowed one last gift on the Chicago White Sox and Andre Rienzo will be forever grateful.

The former White Sox veteran pitcher pulled aside the young kid who now owns his spot in the White Sox's rotation and became a calming influence.

Rienzo admitted that his mind was spinning and with his energetic nature, the Brazil native was simply too hyped up to relax. Peavy helped ease the process for Rienzo.

"Man, Jake what I can say about Jake?" Rienzo said Thursday. "Jake is an unbelievable pitcher and an unbelievable person. Before the game he calmed me and said what [hitters] like, what kind of balls and how to pitch them. He's an unbelievable guy and the little time I have with Jake, I learned a lot. He helped me a lot."

Just like that, the torch was passed. Rienzo went on to pitch seven innings without giving up an earned run, although the Cleveland Indians did score three unearned runs against him. Not long after the game had ended, the White Sox announced that Peavy had been traded to the Red Sox.

Peavy's old rotation spot is now Rienzo's moving forward, with Robin Ventura electing to keep the 25-year-old on the starting staff. Rienzo's next outing will be Sunday at Detroit. Assuming form holds, the right-hander would be in line to make his home debut on Aug. 10 against the Minnesota Twins.

"I hope to keep doing what I'm doing and have fun in the game, smile," Rienzo said when asked about eventually pitching at U.S. Cellular Field with the backing of the home fans. "It's how I love to do it and I'll keep doing what I love to help the team better next time and make wins."

There is no mistaking Rienzo's high-energy style. He is in constant motion, employing his own body language in a subconscious effort to help defenders get to balls. He has also shown a penchant for slapping the back of his glove for most outs and the end of the half inning.

Most notable might be Rienzo's quick-working style, one that resembles the pace of Mark Buehrle, who didn't have a whole lot of patience on the mound.

"I try to work on how quick to get out on the mound, get them off the field and get them rest on the bench," he said.

It's a team's getaway-day dream, and Rienzo will pitch his first getaway day on Sunday.

Although he isn't in it for the recognition, Rienzo hopes that future success could lead to some acknowledgement from Brazilian soccer legend Pele. Fellow Brazial native Yan Gomes of the Indians has already received congratulatory texts from Pele and Rienzo's eyes opened wide when hearing about it.

Asked about it Thursday, Rienzo said he is still in wait mode.

"No text from Pele, man," he said with a smile. "I checked my phone [Wednesday] after you tell me but no text."

Encouragement from legends is fine and all but it's probably the words from Peavy that will carry the most weight.

"[Peavy] talked to me a lot as a young guy, a rookie guy, and he helped me a lot to do my best," Rienzo said of the teammate he barely got to know outside of spring training. "I can't replace Jake. Jake is not replaceable, but I will try to do my best."

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.17 208 174
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .317
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208