Peavy at his best in possible trade tuneup

Peavy at his best in possible trade tuneup
July 25, 2013, 3:45 pm
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White Sox vs. Royals, 7 p.m.
on Comcast SportsNet

On the hill: Jose Quintana (5-2, 3.61 ERA); James Shields (4-7, 3.24 ERA)

Royals at at a glance: 48-51 (3rd in American League Central, seven games behind Tigers) ... -8 run differential ... 21-27 road record.

Royals pitching leaders: Wins - Jeremy Guthrie (10); ERA - Ervin Santana (3.06); WHIP - Santana (1.08) Strikeouts - James Shields (122); Saves - Greg Holland (25)

Royals batting leaders: Average - Eric Hosmer (.286); Home runs - Hosmer (11); RBI - Billy Butler/Alex Gordon (51); OPS - Butler (.788); Stolen Bases - Jarrod Dyson (13)

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All week long Jake Peavy has been hounded about when and where he might be traded.

All week the White Sox starting pitcher gracefully answered every question about his uncertain future and insisted he’d be ready to face the Detroit Tigers despite the distraction.

When he followed through on that promise Thursday afternoon, Peavy showed everyone, including numerous scouts on hand, yet another of the assets that makes him such a desirable commodity.

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Peavy struck out seven in what could be his final outing for the White Sox as he led them to a 7-4 win over the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field. Tyler Flowers also doubled and homered off Justin Verlander as the White Sox avoided their first four-game sweep by Detroit in nearly 25 years.

“He's a pro,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He has done a lot of different things for us, not just going on the field and being a good pitcher. Just kind of being the leader inside for the staff and what he's meant to a lot of the younger guys, bringing them along. That's some of the bigger stuff that people don't see. He's a good pitcher and people can see that. But what he brings is a lot more.”

Peavy brought his entire arsenal in what might stand as a trade tune-up.

Earlier this week, Peavy said he thought the Cubs trade of Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers would likely signal the end of his time on the South Side.

He is the top starting pitcher available in a thin trade market and many of the scouts in attendance were likely on hand to be certain he has fully recovered from a fractured left rib that kept him sidelined for six weeks.

Aside from yielding a pair of late solo home runs, including one on his 118th and final pitch, Peavy showed he’s back on track.

He limited a Tigers lineup that has punished him in recent starts to four runs and four hits with only two walks over seven-plus innings.

Not bad for a guy who hadn’t pitched in a game for 5 1/2 weeks until July 14.

He was pretty sharp today,” Flowers said. “Definitely not his best but his fastball had a lot of velocity and his cutter had good action on it. … All in all I was pretty please with how he threw the ball. He probably pitched a little better than the line.”

Peavy’s cut-fastball ran away from left-handed hitters and his offspeed pitches were solid, though Flowers said his curveball was a little off.

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The right-hander induced pop ups, bad swings and grounders as he cruised through seven innings. He felt much sharper than he did in a six-inning win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

I certainly felt a whole lot better, more in control,” Peavy said. “I came out for that Atlanta start so strong and excited to be out there. I knew I had to pace myself better and execute a gameplan against (Detroit).”

If Peavy’s work in between starts was bothered by extracurricular activities, it didn’t show.

He faced the minimum through three innings and after he gave up consecutive hits to start the fourth, including a game-tying, two-run homer to Torii Hunter, he retired 12 of 14 batters.

Peavy’s day appeared to be over after he struck out Don Kelly to end the seventh. He was at 110 pitches and walked off the field to a standing ovation as the White Sox sound system blared ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’

But Peavy was trotted out for the eighth inning and catcher Brayan Pena worked the count full before he ripped a 3-2 offering into the bleachers in right. Ventura then made the call to the bullpen and Peavy (8-4) was serenaded with another ovation.

You understand what’s going on with the situation,” Peavy said. “But when you get between the white lines, if you’re thinking about anything else other than executing the right pitch and what’s the right pitch to throw in the situation in the game, you’re beat. So I promise you that was the last thing on my mind today.”

As for after the game, Peavy admits he has key items organized in case his phone rings to inform him he has been traded.

He’s not sure what to expect.

Some reports say the White Sox could inherit a rather big windfall were they to trade Peavy to any number of teams. Another on Wednesday suggested the White Sox might not be ready to part with Peavy, who is under contract for the 2014 season.

Either way, Peavy said he’d be OK with whatever happens.

We’ll just have to sit and wait,” Peavy said. “My gut feeling tells me I could be traded and I could be a part of this going forward. … I’m a big boy and understand the situation. I’ll be happy to stay here and be the best teammate I can be, grind it out the rest of the season and make sure we keep playing hard and show up to win every day. If I get traded, I’ll give the boys a big hug and make sure a few tears will be shed, leaving the friendships here. And I’ll go play as hard as I can to help the next ballclub I’m on, if that happens. Just going to take it in and we’ll see how the next few days play out.”