ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ready to welcome right-hander Jake Peavy back into the bigs on Wednesday, the White Sox are kicking around going with a six-man rotation until they can write Peavy's comeback in ink rather than pencil.
"Hopefully, he stays there for good," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said before Monday night's game against the Angels here.
Just 10 months past extensive shoulder surgery and into uncharted waters, Peavy's comeback this spring has been highly impressive, albeit a bit uneven. The Sox had to put the brakes on when he developed shoulder tenidinitis in late March, and one of his minor-league rehabilitation starts for Double-A Birmingham was cut short because of muscle tenderness three weeks ago.
Consequently, even while re-inserting him into their rotation, the Sox are being cautious. But part of the issue is, they need him to pitch, because they need to win games. His return can't be an experiment just to see if he's ready. They can't baby him.
"You always worry," Guillen said. "I always worry about anybody who goes on the field [to play].
"He's worked so hard. He's put in a lot of hours of rehab. I love to see him pitch. Last year, it was rehab, bullpen [sessions], the minor leagues ... he can't wait to pitch here and stay in the big leagues every five days.
"Nobody wants to be out there more than him."
While Guillen said a six-man rotation is a possibility, he emphasized that it's just something the Sox are considering.
"I don't know," Guillen said.
As of now, Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Edwin Jackson and Gavin Floyd are locked into the rotation. Phil Humber is the man who was viewed by some as keeping a spot warm for Peavy's return, but Humber has been excellent so far in 2011. Though just 2-3, the right-hander has a 2.97 ERA.
Guillen said Humber definitely will start on schedule Friday in Oakland.
"It's not fair for him [to say], 'OK, you pitched good, thank you for coming, goodbye,'" Guillen said. "I'm not that type of person. I'm not that type of manager.
"You throw well, you earn it. And after that. ..."
After that, we'll see. By spotting in a sixth starter, Guillen said, it could take some of the stress off of others in the rotation. Floyd, for example, did not pitch after September 20 last summer because of tightness in the back of his right shoulder.
Peavy is slotted for Wednesday night against Angels rookie Tyler Chatwood. He said Monday he's feeling great after his final rehab outing, pitching for Triple-A Charlotte against the Mud Hens in Toledo last week.