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Sunday, March 20, 2011
What took so long to slow down Peavy?

By Doug Padilla



GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Well it’s about time.

The Chicago White Sox have finally decided to save Jake Peavy from himself by no longer letting the right-hander tell them when he is ready to pitch.

Ozzie Guillen confirmed it Sunday afternoon at the tail end of a day when Peavy was told that all his attempts at pitching through shoulder soreness this spring have likely led to rotator cuff tendinitis.

“Jake Peavy will pitch the day I tell him to pitch,” Guillen said. “He’s not going to convince me. I don’t care, we went through it. I will get the go-ahead from our pitching coach and medical staff, I’m not going to get the go-ahead from him. I can’t. Sorry. I can’t.”

Peavy’s similar determination last season is what appears to have gotten the White Sox in this mess in the first place. He insisted on pitching through shoulder discomfort that included fluid buildup. He blew out his latissimus dorsi muscle in early July and had season-ending surgery soon after.

Peavy will not pitch in his next scheduled spring start against the Chicago Cubs. So instead of a national television audience on ESPN2 seeing the next step in his recovery, it will get Phil Humber instead. With a solid outing, Humber could wind up being the White Sox’s fifth starter.

Missing his next start means Peavy certainly won’t be able to open the season on the roster, but amazingly, Guillen refused to say that the former Cy Young winner will not be active April 1.

Peavy had been targeted to start in the No. 5 spot in the rotation, which meant he would have either pitched April 6 at Kansas City or April 10 at home. An early off day could allow the White Sox to push back the No. 5 spot until April 10.

“Ah, he will be in Cleveland on Opening Day but I don’t know if he’s going to be on the roster,” Guillen said. “We have the Plan B and we should stick with that plan. Don’t rush and do something stupid when we don’t have to do it.”

So he won’t be on the opening day roster then?

“Maybe he comes tomorrow ready to pitch and then it’s, ‘What’s going on here. Do you want some time off?'” Guillen said. “I respect that and I know for a fact he wants to be on the team. We have to make sure that when he’s on the team, he’s on the team for good.”

You would think with everything the club has been through with Peavy that it wouldn’t have a problem saying he will not make his first start of the season.

If parents tell their kids to stop doing something and then don’t do anything about it when that behavior continues, then it’s their fault. That isn’t our analysis, Guillen said exactly that Sunday.

“We want to protect him, because when we protect him, we protect ourselves,” Guillen said.

That protection doesn’t seem to have happened. Peavy has mentioned shoulder soreness ever since his first start of the spring March 4 against the Angels. Then came this week’s brutal bout with a stomach virus.

Peavy said that trainer Herm Schneider was against him pitching Saturday. Guillen said he didn’t like it but let Peavy take the mound anyway even though the pitcher looked weak and it was a nearly 80-degree day.

Somebody is going to have to tell Peavy, “No,” for more than just Thursday’s start. Doesn’t it seem obvious at this point?

“I’m still holding out hope that this thing will get nipped in the bud and we’ll move ahead ASAP,” said Peavy, who will know more about his status when he is reassessed by Tuesday. “But at the same time, you have to have realistic expectations of what is going on. I’ve tried to keep that, but like I said I’ve been as positive and upbeat as I can be about getting out there as soon as possible.”

The White Sox know the division can’t be won in April, although last season’s slow start didn’t help the cause.

This probably will sound na´ve, but the likely scenario has the White Sox announcing this week that Peavy won’t be pitching either April 6 or April 10. How far they go beyond that remains to be seen.