PEORIA, Ariz. – Jake Peavy and Clayton Richard will always be linked as the key pieces of a trade between the San Diego Padres and White Sox.
The two pitchers faced off Sunday, their first starts of spring training.
Richard pitched two scoreless innings, leading the Padres to a 4-0 win over the Sox. Peavy was hit hard, giving up three runs and five hits.
Peavy yielded RBI doubles to Chase Headley, Cameron Maybin and Nick Hundley. Despite the result, Peavy was happy with his performance. He focused on fastball command, throwing just two sliders as a strikeout pitch.
More importantly, Peavy no longer has any concerns about injuries, a recurring issue in recent springs.
“It’s not [even] in the back of my head,” Peavy said of his health. “You have no idea what the future holds – I may go out tomorrow and my elbow could blow up, that’s the risk we all take. But I think the numbers velocity-wise today proves that to a lot of guys around camp. I had a little bit more than I had at any point all of last year. That’s a nice sign for me and something to build on and you have to keep getting stronger.”
Peavy was surprised that the Padres were so aggressive, with nine of the 15 batters he faced swinging at a first-pitch fastball. Being aggressive within the zone has become a point of emphasis with the Padres dating to last season, especially against top-flight pitchers.
“You can’t get behind on these pitchers, and you saw some willingness to go after the early fastball in the second half last year and our hitting coaches continue to preach that philosophy,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “I think that’s a good thing.”
In terms of the 2009 trade, Black thinks it came out relatively even. Richard has been healthy and consistent in recent years, and Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner, has had injury issues while being more dynamic when healthy.
“You never know how a trade’s going to turn out, and sometimes you have to wait a while to evaluate them,” Black said. “In this case, it turned out to be good for both teams. Clayton has been an integral part of our rotation, just as Jake has for the White Sox.”
Peavy had more of an attachment to his old team. Richard made 22 starts in two big league seasons, but Peavy was a Padres star for five full seasons.
Even so, his focus was on getting work in. If the circumstances were different, Peavy’s attitude would be, too.
“It’d be fun to face the Padres in the regular season,” Peavy said. “If it were ever to happen, I’d be a completely different pitcher. You have to take this for what it was. It was my first spring start and I’m trying to build towards the regular season. It was a good first day.”
Notes: Sox SS Alexi Ramirez returned to the team after eading to Florida on Wednesday for family-related issues. ... LHP John Danks is scheduled to make his spring training debut today. It will be his first appearance since having left shoulder surgery on Aug. 6, 2012. ... Padres 3B-OF James Darnell has a right oblique strain and will be out an indeterminate length of time, Black said. ... The Padres and Sox will play a five-inning “B’’ game today at a Padres practice field in order to keep some pitchers on schedule. ... RHP Andrew Cashner threw off a mound for the second time this spring has he continues to rehab from a thumb injury. He’ll throw batting practice and a side session before playing games.