Peavy making White Sox 2-for-2 in stirring 2012 comebacks

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Adam Dunn's isn't the only stirring comeback this season in Chicago. Every fifth day, Jake Peavy finally is showing why White Sox general manager Kenny Williams traded for him back in 2009.

Peavy, in eight starts, is 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA and an 0.919 WHIP. He has 48 strikeouts and nine walks in 57 2/3 innings pitched.

"I want to be the guy they traded for," Peavy says. "Kenny's been questioned. [The trade] has been questioned. I've done everything I can possibly do to be the guy I wanted to be.

"It hasn't been in the cards. I haven't been healthy. My last few starts have been very gratifying."

Peavy, the NL Cy Young winner in 2007, now finds himself old at 30. He was disabled in 2008 with a sore elbow, again in 2009 with a bum ankle and again in 2010 with a shoulder injury.

He underwent experimental surgery to repair the tendon that attaches the latissimus dorsi muscle to the rear of the right shoulder, an operation that involved titanium anchors and stitches. Though he made a spirited effort to come back last year (7-7, 4.92 in 111 2/3 innings pitched), he says doctors told him his timetable essentially would be closer to 18 months, the equivalent of a Tommy John elbow surgery.

Now. ...

"I feel normal again," Peavy says. "I feel like I always used to feel.

"And I feel fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity."

Everything is still not the same. At least, not according to the radar gun. Where his fastball once used to sizzle at 94 or 95 m.p.h., it now doesn't top 92.

"He doesn't have the velocity he used to have, but he still is spotting his fastball," catcher A.J. Pierzynski says.

The Tigers jumped on him in the sixth inning of Monday's start, when Peavy's five shutout innings went up in flames in the sixth inning via Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer and Ryan Raburn's three-run shot during an eventual 10-8 loss. It was the third time Peavy faced the Tigers in eight starts this season.

Still, though his fastball numbers are down, the fact that his other numbers are up is impressive given that, aside from the potent Tigers lineup in those eight starts, he's also faced the Rangers, Red Sox, Orioles and Indians. The Athletics have been the only thing close to a breather for him.

"I'm in an unbelievable place as far as my career goes," Peavy says. "I truly don't take anything for granted. I know what it's like to be on top of the mountain. I know what it's like to be at the lowest of lows, thinking this game may be taken away from you.

"It's tough when you think you can play on pain medication, have a shot, and then you go out there and you're not nearly the person you once were.

"I'm 30 years old, and I can't believe I would deteriorate this fast. I realized when I talked to my surgeon and he said, 'You've been through an unbelievable amount the last two years. It's going to take time."

Just maybe, for the first time since that heady Cy Young season in '07, time finally is on Peavy's side.
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