Chicago White Sox

Peavy Watch: Tampa Edition

Peavy Watch: Tampa Edition

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 6:54 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.The sigh of relief could be heard 1,200 miles south.

Jake Peavy flew up to Chicago on Tuesday, one day removed from leaving his rehabilitation start in Birmingham, Ala. last night after throwing just 15 pitches.

Peavys MRI was completely normal, according to White Sox doctors. The discomfort Peavy felt last nightpain that prompted his removal from a projected 90-pitch startwas mere inflammation of the latissimus dorsi muscle that was surgically reattached last July. That pain is possibly related to, but different from, the shoulder tendinitis that sidelined Peavy during spring training, eventually slowing his rehab enough to keep him in extended spring training once the White Sox broke camp.

The course of action for Peavy is to cease throwing for four days (including today) and adhere to a six-day anti-inflammatories regimen. On Friday, he will resume throwing and prepare for his next rehab start on Thursday, April 28.

"I was kind of worried last night, but with the news we have, I feel better," said manager Ozzie Guillen, who showed real concern for Peavy on Monday but characterized his aborted start as more bad news for the White Sox after Chicagos loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. "But I stay with the same plan. I wish I could say, 'I will have this guy the next day, one week, two weeks, one month,' but Ive got to wait and go through the process and see what happens."

Peavy allowed three runs on four hits vs. Mississippi on Monday, and such an extreme decisionleaving the contest some 75 pitches short of his goal, caused everyone following the hurlers road back from the uncharted territory of latissimus dorsi muscle reattachment to take a deep breath and fear the worst.

But the news is much brighter than that, with Peavy missing his next startscheduled for Saturday for AAA Charlottebut resuming his throwing activity this Friday and aiming for an official return to the mound in just a week and half.

We're hoping Jake comes back and we're anticipating him coming back, but right now we need our starting pitchers to step up and we need our bullpen to be more consistent," pitching coach Don Cooper said before Tuesdays game in St. Petersburg and before Peavys prognosis was known. "We've lost a few games, and the best way to stop a losing streak is for somebody to step up and shut down the other team."

Peavy is expected to fly to Florida and meet up with Cooper and the White Sox staff on Wednesday to map out any tweaks needed to his throwing program. What was initially seen as a most optimistic prognosisPeavys return to the majors being pushed back from May 1 to May 15 or thereaboutsnow appears to be right on target.

But thats not something Guillen is going to lose sleep over.

"Nothing against Jake, but if you're not here, I don't worry about you," he said. "I didn't worry about Carlos Quentin when he was rehabbing, or Mark Teahen. When they say, This guy is ready to go, I'll be more than happy to have him with the club.

Guillens got a pointone he wasnt afraid to hammer home, with a laugh.

The way we're playing, the last guy who is going through my mind is Jake."

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Avisail Garcia's 'big head' isn't getting in the way of defensive improvements

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USA TODAY

Avisail Garcia's 'big head' isn't getting in the way of defensive improvements

Avisail Garcia's "big head" almost cost the White Sox on Friday night. At least, that's Reynaldo Lopez's humorous theory. 

With the game on the line and the Royals' tying run dashing for the plate, Garcia slipped a bit before making a clutch recovery to nail Whit Merrifield. The craziness continued after the tag as Narvaez caught Lorenzo Cain drifting off first base to seal a win. 

"I was watching the game on the TV here," Lopez said, "and then when I saw the hit from Cain, and I saw that Avi fell down because he has a big head, I was concerned but at the same time I saw that his throw, he has a good arm and he made a very good throw." 

Just your average 9-2-4-6 double play to end a game on the South Side, right? 

"Obviously, when he slipped we took a little gasp," Renteria said. "But we were talking about his body control to be able to maintain himself enough to get up and make the throw that he did. Unbelievable. It's pretty exciting finish to a ballgame that kind of got a little ugly early on."

Ugly is an apt way to describe the first few innings. Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada both made errors in the Royals' six-run third inning, and Lopez capped it off with a wild pitch that allowed Eric Hosmer to score. But it went from an eyesore loss to an overzealous "we could make noise in 2019" rebuild win from there, and Garcia's defense -- of all things -- played a significant role. 

Garcia's outfield assist in the ninth was his second of the game. The first, an absolute strike to cut down Alex Gordon in the sixth, didn't involve a slip, though. 

And while much has been made of Garcia's breakout year with the bat, he believes his defense is hugely improved, too. 

"I think 100 percent," he said. "I just try to get better every day with hitting and defense. That’s baseball so get better in everything."

He has 12 outfield assists on the season, up from five a year ago. And despite his overall fielding percentage being down, his strong arm may give him a stronger defensive reputation. 

"Since last year, he's always had an excellent arm," Renteria said. "I think his accuracy is something to be pointed out too because as off balance as he was, he's made some throws to the plate that have been really spot on."

Renteria attributes Garcia's accuracy to the outfielder putting in extra time with Daryl Boston. 

"(Boston) has those guys throwing, and none of you guys are out there watching them work, but they'll throw quite a bit to the bases, especially second base," Renteria said. "They'll get deep and they'll work on doing that, so that's just a part of their routine."

The evolution of Avi carries on. 

Forget about it: Yoan Moncada's ability to play through mistakes

Forget about it: Yoan Moncada's ability to play through mistakes

Yoan Moncada could have mentally taken himself out of Friday’s game in the third inning.

The White Sox prized prospect booted a routine groundball in the frame, contributing to a long, damaging Royals rally. A few singles, a Tim Anderson error and five runs later, it seemed as if the inning would never end on the South Side.

Mercifully, the Sox were finally able to return to their dugout because Moncada refocused and refused to allow one physical error to compound. 

The skilled second baseman ranged up the middle to scoop a hard-hit Brandon Moss grounder, preventing any further damage. One inning later, he pummeled a two-run blast to center to give the White Sox the lead for good.

It’s that type of short-term memory that has impressed the Sox in his first major league showing with the club.

"I don't think he consumes himself too much in the mistake,” Rick Renteria said after the 7-6 win. “Maybe he's just thinking about what he's trying to do the next time."

Moncada’s quite polished for a 22-year-old infielder who hasn’t even played a full season in the majors. His athletic ability allows him to make the highlight-reel plays frequently, so now it's about continuing to work on his fundamentals. 

“He's really improved significantly since he's gotten here,” Renteria said. “Not trying to be too flashy. The great plays that he makes just take care of themselves. He's got tremendous ability.” 

Since being called up, Moncada has added value to what is the arguably the best second base fielding team in the MLB. Although no defensive metric is perfect, between Moncada, Tyler Saladino and Yolmer Sanchez, the White Sox second basemen lead the league with 19 defensive runs saved above average. The Pirates have the next highest amount of runs saved by second basemen with 10, according to Baseball-Reference. 

With the enormous range, though, comes the inexperience. In just 46 games, Moncada has tallied eight errors. 

"It happens to the best of them," Renteria said. "He's one of the young men, along with (Anderson) and even (Jose Abreu), who are looking to improve a particular skill, which is defending."

It serves as a reminder that the likely infield of the future still has a ways to go.