March 2011

Peavy throws two scoreless

Jake Peavy’s comeback took a major step forward Friday.

The right-hander, who last pitched in a game on July 6, 2010 against the Angels in U.S. Cellular Field, threw two scoreless innings against those same Angels at Diablo Stadium in his return from a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right posterior shoulder. Peavy fanned two and walked one during the 2011 Cactus League debut, as White Sox starters extended their hitless innings streak to 10.

Peavy opened with a swinging strikeout of Maicer Izturis, before falling behind at 3-0 on Bobby Abreu. He battled back to a full count, but Abreu drew a walk. Two pitches later, Torii Hunter hit into a 4-6-3 double play, a pitch on which Peavy topped out velocity-wise at 92 mph, from Brent Lillibridge to Alexei Ramirez to Dallas McPherson, ending the frame.

In the first, Peavy threw 12 pitches and six for strikes.

Vernon Wells struck out to start the second, with Peavy reaching back for something extra on a high fastball off of a 1-2 pitch. Howie Kendrick hit the ball hard but flew out to Alejandro De Aza in center. Erick Aybar came closest to getting a hit, lining a 3-2 pitch to left that was tracked down by Juan Pierre.

That effort meant 26 pitches in total, 16 for strikes. If everything checks out for Peavy Saturday following this important outing, then he’ll go with a side bullpen and get ready to face the Giants Wednesday in Scottsdale.

“Relieved, pleased, it’s a big step to get out there in a game,” Peavy said. “You know, I did what I expected to do and hoped what I would be able to do, turn it up a level and get some big league hitters out. And feel normal in doing that. We accomplished that today. I hope we’ve put a lot of questions and issues to rest.”

Bonus notes from Wednesday

Here’s a few quick items from Wednesday’s 7-6 Reds victory over the White Sox, since A.J. Pierzynski’s speedy driving took center stage on the news front.

Kyle Cofield was touched up for five runs in one inning of work during the fifth, but none of them were earned. Gordon Beckham dropped an inning-ending force at second on a throw from Brent Morel, and Cofield took a while to get that third out. But manager Ozzie Guillen thought Cofield, who was acquired from the Braves in a trade for Scott Linebrink, threw well.

Brent Morel and Beckham both picked up stolen bases in the defeat. Guillen plans to run and run often with every starter who has the speed to take the extra base.

Guillen realizes his hitters are a little behind at the plate during this 0-3 Cactus League start.

“But it’s early,” Guillen said. “We’ll be fine.”

Finally, after Guillen’s postgame media session Wednesday, he humorously informed the Cincinnati AP writer how ‘The Missile’ nickname belongs to White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez and not Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman. Guillen coined that nickname during Ramirez’s first year in 2008.

Cactus League business as usual for Buehrle

Mark Buehrle’s wish is that he feels just as good during his franchise-record ninth Opening Day start on April 1 in Cleveland as he did during his first Cactus League start Tuesday against the Brewers.

Buehrle threw two quick innings, retiring four hitters on ground ball outs and striking out Brandon Boggs among the six Brewers faced during Milwaukee’s 3-1 victory at Camelback Ranch. The smiling veteran southpaw felt there was another one or two innings in him, but then again, Buehrle makes that same statement after his first start every spring. It really doesn’t take him more than two starts to get ready.

“You should have just got me before the game,” said Buehrle, joking about his quotes not really changing from year to year at this time. “You’re down here getting your work in to get prepared for the season.

“Obviously it’s a little too long for myself. It could be shorter. But it is what it is and you come down here and get your work in, build your arm strength and fill up innings.”

And count Buehrle in mid-season form regarding the fun he has with the media after a low-key start such as this one. Buehrle quipped how he wanted to petition Major League Baseball to have his one strikeout Tuesday added to last year’s regular-season total to give him an even 100 for 2010.

He also comically poked fun at the team’s lack of offense in Game 2 on the Cactus League ledger, with the White Sox locked in a scoreless tie when he departed, costing him an all-important chance at victory on the first day of March.

“We had our big boys going, and all we needed was one run,” said Buehrle, pausing with a wry smile for laughter from the gathered media to subside. “A little bit of run support, guys. Let’s go.”

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