CHICAGO – If White Sox manager Robin Ventura has it his way, pitching Jake Peavy won’t be leaving the South Side before the July 31 trade deadline.
But should Peavy, whose start Saturday against the Braves was his first since June 4, prove he is healthy and completely recovered from a fractured rib in the 10 days before the trade deadline, the 32-year-old right-hander could be the next Sox player dealt.
“I’d rather keep him,” Ventura said. “Believe me, that’s very evident for me because I know how good he is and I know it’s good for us to have him because he’s a good pitcher.
“I don’t think about all the other stuff. I want him to do well first and foremost because I know it’s good for us.”
With about 10 scouts in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field, Peavy didn’t seem bothered by the long layoff. Although he didn’t have great command of his pitches early, Peavy settled down and helped the Sox pull out a 10-6 win against Atlanta. Peavy (7-4) allowed four runs – though only two were earned – in six innings. He retired nine of the last 11 batters he faced and did not surrender a walk for the sixth time in 12 starts this season.
"It don't bother me,” Peavy said of pitching in front of scouts. “I just have to go out there and try to win. There's a lot of eyes on me, period. … Whatever scouts see, they see. I love to play. I love to compete. I want to win. That's the bottom line.”
Peavy will likely need one more solid outing to convince interested teams that he has completely healed and is in good shape after the rib injury. That sets up a marquee matchup Thursday when he takes the mound to face the AL Central-leading Tigers, who will start Justin Verlander.
Peavy is an intriguing option for playoff contending teams, especially ones featuring a younger rotation, such as the Diamondbacks. Peavy provides a veteran clubhouse presence and has playoff experience from his time with the Padres. He'd be a valuable acquisition for any team gunning for the playoffs.
He also comes with a manageable contract with about $7 million still owed this season and $14.5 million owed next season. With the Sox sitting 18 games under .500, general manager Rick Hahn can’t afford to be too picky when it comes to keeping players. Peavy acknowledged it will be a “sad day to leave” if he is traded.
“I love Chicago, and we once again made that clear this winter,” Peavy said. “I have a ton of friends here. I believe this team is capable of winning. This team, we showed you that we could last year, we just haven’t done much of that this year, and that’s unfortunate.”
The Sox understand they face an uncertain finish to July as the trade deadline looms with rumors swirling. Outfielder Alex Rios, subject to rumors of his own, doesn’t want to consider what the Sox would be like without Peavy. However, that could soon be a reality.
“With trade rumors, I just don’t like to speak about them,” Rios said. “They are just rumors. Until it happens, I’ll just stick to the idea that they are just rumors. If it happens, we can talk about it.”
• Meghan Montemurro covers the White Sox and Cubs for Shaw Media. Write to her at email@example.com. Read the Sox Insider and Inside the Cubs blogs at NWHerald.com and on Twitter @Sox_Insider and @InsideTheCubs.