GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Peavy yelled "God bless it!" more than a few times during his five innings of work in a minor league game Wednesday morning at Camelback Ranch. Facing mostly minor leaguers on a back field with only a few fans watching, Peavy's intensity was no different than it would be during a regular season game.
"In that environment, sometimes I don't want to get crazy and you guys think I'm some kind of animal down there screaming and yelling, scaring children," Peavy said. "I got a couple guys' families back there out seeing his first spring training and I'm out yelling and screaming on the mound."
While back field minor league games don't foster the same level of passion seen in the middle of a playoff race, Peavy enjoyed being able to specifically work on holding runners during three of his five innings. The right-hander slide-stepped out of the stretch for those three innings, pretending as if Austin Jackson was lurking at first base.
"It's hard to make yourself do it. It's just easy to get in the bullpen, work out of the windup and everything feels good, get in the stretch, pick your leg up nice," Peavy explained. "But when you do change the timing, when you go being two seconds to deliver the ball to home plate to a 1.1 or so, the timing of getting your foot down, your hand and a lot of times you forget to work on that in the bullpen, you forget to do it in a game.
"So to be able to go down here and throw three innings, to be able to work on that is huge. And obviously holding runners is an emphasis for any right-hander."
Peavy didn't start in the White Sox Wednesday Cactus League game against Cleveland given he'll likely face the Indians twice in the season's first month. The schedule sets up so Peavy will throw in another minor league game Monday, which the White Sox have off. His next Cactus League start will come on March 23 against the Dodgers.
That schedule isn't something, though, that's of any concern to the 31-year-old.
"It doesn't matter," Peavy said. "When you step between the white lines, U.S. Cellular Field, I don't care where you've been pitching, if your arm's in shape and you've done your work to get physically sound in your mechanics, you're ready to go."
Keppinger could play soon
Manager Robin Ventura expects infielder Jeff Keppinger to return to the White Sox lineup sometime before this weekend. When Keppinger does come back from a sore shoulder, Ventura said he'll play second base.
"We're just being overly cautious and making sure when he goes in games he's ready to play," Ventura said.
In other injury news, Jesse Crain isn't ready for game action but is getting closer to a return to the mound. A hip injury suffered early in March kept Crain from pitching for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
"We'd rather be cautious with him than put him in there and set him back again," Ventura said.
Peavy sees value, drawbacks in WBC
Washington's Gio Gonzalez threw five shutout innings for Team USA Tuesday night against Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, a performance at which Peavy -- a WBC veteran -- marveled.
Peavy made two starts in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, throwing eight innings and allowing three runs for Team USA. Now that he's on the other end of the spectrum, though, he understands the drawbacks to pitching at 100 percent in the spring.
"It’s tough to ask your body to do in mid-March when you are on the Nationals, who are hopefully trying for the World Series," Peavy said. "You can definitely see the other side of things now."
Peavy was on USA's roster in 2009 for the World Baseball Classic, too, and appreciates what the tournament stands for. He was part of the mob that rushed David Wright after Team USA's dramatic comeback win over Puerto Rico that year, and considers that one of the best moments of his career.
"I’m not taking anything away from the tournament alone. It’s the best experience I had baseball-wise," Peavy said. "The win we had over Puerto Rico, David Wright getting the base hit to end it in the ninth. It was one of the joyous moments I’ve ever had on the baseball field."
On the field
Alexei Ramriez and Dewayne Wise went each went 2-3 in the White Sox 5-2 loss to Cleveland Wednesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch.
Andre Rienzo got the start for the White Sox and allowed two runs on three hits in three innings of work. It was the right-hander's first start since returning from pitching for Team Brazil in the World Baseball Classic.
Ubaldo Jimenez started for Cleveland and allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings of work. The right-hander has a 5.32 ERA in 42 starts since coming to Cleveland from Colorado in 2011.