ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. -- Both Don Cooper and Jake Peavy are excited about where the starting pitcher stands after two bullpen sessions this week.
Neither the pitching coach nor pitcher would rule out the possibility Peavy could possibly start July 14 in the first-half finale at Philadelphia.
Robin Ventura didn’t hesitate to put the kibosh on those plans on Friday, however. As pleased as Ventura is with the progress, he feels Peavy, who has been out a month with a fractured left rib, would need at least one rehab start before he returns to the mound. Peavy, who is 6-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 11 starts this spring, is set to throw another bullpen or a simulated game on Tuesday in Detroit.
“It would be tough to stick him back out there, being off this long,” Ventura said. “You’d like to see him get the adrenaline going. It’s a different game than going out and throwing a bullpen and expecting him to go out in a game. I would doubt very highly he would go out there without a rehab start.”
Cooper has been pleased with what he has seen from Peavy thus far considering he hasn’t pitched in a game since early June. Peavy threw 53 pitches in the bullpen in Friday’s effort, which he said was a step up from his first session on Tuesday.
Cooper didn’t say Peavy might start next Sunday, he just wouldn’t rule out the possibility while adding the pitcher isn’t far from competition.
“He got a nice workout,” Cooper said. “He’s throwing all of his pitches. He’s trying all the locations. He’s experiencing no discomfort or pain, not voiced to me at all. We’re moving and it’s getting closer now. … I have nothing bad to report. Actually, I’m starting to get a little bit excited that it’s just around the corner that we are going to get him back.”
For his part, Peavy is also pretty pleased with his work. The 2012 All-Star admits he’s not a huge fan of rehab starts and prefers to avoid them at all costs. As much as he’d like to skip that part of the process, Peavy knows he has plenty of work ahead of him.
With a month off, he, as expected, needs to improve his command. Peavy said he made gains on Friday but at times feels like he’s back in spring training with his command. But even more important, Peavy has to rebuild both his arm and leg strength.
“It’s OK, it’s certainly not great,” Peavy said. “My arm for about 10 or 15 pitches can be as good as it ever has been, but after that it’s probably a huge drop off towards the end. … I wasn’t able to run or lift any kind of weights for almost a month and that takes a lot out of you as far as your endurance, your strength.”
Sox want to retain Gimenez
Ventura hopes the club is able to hang on to catcher Hector Gimenez and stash him at Triple-A Charlotte. Gimenez was designated for assignment after Thursday’s game to make room for the promotion of rookie Josh Phegley.
Gimenez hit .191 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 26 games for the White Sox this season.
“We would like that a lot,” Ventura said. “It’s tough being the odd man out. He did a great job for us. I’d like him to stay with us. We’ll have to see how it ends up in next few days.”
Prospect Johnson to DL
The White Sox placed pitching prospect Erik Johnson, who was rated the organization’s No. 4 prospect before the season by Baseball America, on the 7-day disabled list with a right groin strain. Johnson, who is 9-2 this season, might not pitch until after the All-Star break, assistant general manager Buddy Bell said.
“It’s real, but I don’t think it’s serious,” Bell said of Johnson’s injury. “You have to be careful. We would do the same with anybody, but especially with him. We have to make sure he’s good. Lot of innings.”