Peavy exits early

The next time a fifth starter will be needed by the White Sox comes Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. This makeup game from a postponement on June 16 looked to be a prime late-season battle between two heated crosstown rivals who were set up for an exciting Sept. postseason push.

And now? The heated rivals still will be present but those postseason pushes have hit a couple of respective bumps in the road. The White Sox sit five games out in the American League Central, and the Cubs have a better chance in the NL Wild Card then the NL Central.

Regardless of the ramifications of the afternoon contest, and by the way, the early forecast for Thursday is 75 and mostly sunny, this date also was being pointed to by White Sox fans because it looked as a possibility for Jake Peavy to make his debut. But judging by Saturday’s results in Peavy’s fourth Minor League rehab start, that trip to the mound is no certainty.

Peavy had a target of 100 pitches and possibly six innings in another start with Triple-A Charlotte at Norfolk, a Minor League start primarily brought about because of tightness he felt after taking a line drive off of his pitching elbow during a scoreless effort this past Monday. The right-hander worked only 3 1/3 innings against Norfolk, giving up two runs on four hits, striking out four and throwing just 68 pitches, and according to the Chicago Tribune, Peavy left the game due to a recurrence of the tightness in his right elbow brought about by the Wes Timmons’ line drive.

So, where does this leave Peavy? Well, there was some doubt as to whether he would start in a National League ballpark from the outset. The partially torn tendon in his right ankle, which has sidelined him for close to three months, came about through Peavy running the bases and is more likely to be bothered by baserunning than anything pitching-releated. For that reason, White Sox general manager Ken Williams ruled out Peavy from that Cubs game a few weeks ago.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said during this road trip that if he needs Peavy Thursday and if Peavy is ready, then it shouldn’t matter if it’s at Wrigley. Guillen joked that he would tell the umpires the White Sox have an automatic out every time Peavy was due to hit, without even letting him get in the batter’s box.

One thing is for certain: Peavy wants to get back out to pitch– at Wrigley, at U.S. Cellular Field or on the West Coast. During an interview at Fenway Park, Peavy characterized this whole extended rehab process as a tougher period for him than all of the offseason trade rumors he had to deal with swirling around

“No, this is tougher–simply because I want to play,” Peavy said. “Being hurt is never fun and trying to get back into this and speeding it up has been frustrating at times. I think I’m starting to see the other side and looking forward to the day I can get out and help.”

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