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MONTEMURRO: Peavy shines in likely last start

Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO – As much as Jake Peavy has tried to keep on the blinders amid trade speculation, even he is beginning to embrace what could be his final days in a White Sox uniform.

He had that in mind when Sox clubhouse manager Vince Fresso asked Peavy which jersey he wanted to wear for his start Thursday against the Tigers with the expectation he’d choose their classic white or black jersey. Peavy, realizing it could be his last start on the South Side with the July 31 trade deadline less than a week away, took advantage of the opportunity.

Peavy requested the Sox wear their 1983 throwback uniforms, which are reserved for Sunday home games this season. Understanding the circumstances, manager Robin Ventura whole-heartedly gave the OK. Wearing the throwback might become a day game tradition after the Sox snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-4 win against Detroit.

“Last year, I never made a start on Sunday and didn’t get to pitch in those [1972 throwbacks], and we all know the situation and I hadn’t pitched in these, and these are so cool,” Peavy explained.

Standing in front of his locker after the win, Peavy (8-4) certainly sounded like a player prepping to be traded. Peavy said he doesn’t have a gut feeling as to what will transpire, though he has talked with general manager Rick Hahn and now must sit and wait. Peavy does have some of his belongings packed in case a deal happens.

“He’s a big part of this team and he’s a veteran leader and sets examples for a lot of guys,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “He’s a guy that’s helped me since he came over. We’ve worked together a fair bit and I love catching him.”

If Thursday was his last start with the Sox, Peavy finished his career with a strong performance. Although the Tigers scored four runs off Peavy in seven-plus innings, the 32-year-old right hander held them to four hits and struck out seven. Sox fans gave Peavy a standing ovation when he struck out Don Kelly to end the seventh inning and again when Ventura pulled him from the game after he gave up a homer to Brayan Pena to start the eighth. Peavy tipped his cap to the fans as he walked off the field both times.

“It was very humbling. It was emotional for me,” Peavy said. “If it was the last time I pitch here at U.S. Cellular, with this uniform on, it was a nice way to go out. It meant the absolute world to me. I hope everyone knows that.”

Any team scouting Peavy, who has one year left on his contract, had to be pleased Thursday with his improved command from his first start off the disabled list Saturday against the Braves. Despite giving up three home runs, Peavy allowed fewer hits and controlled Detroit hitters with a sharp fastball that sat at 92 mph.

Peavy said he felt fine and wasn’t experiencing any rib soreness, which aids the on-field results that he’s healthy. His impact on the Sox extends beyond his 36-29 record in parts of five seasons on the South Side. The guidance he provides to younger pitchers is invaluable, and Peavy will be tough to replace inside the clubhouse should the Sox trade him.

“I don’t want him to go,” Ventura said. “I enjoy him being on our team; I know what he means. I don’t make that decision so again, I’m kind of the guy that appreciates him being on our team right now and I hope he’s here through next year, too.”

• Meghan Montemurro covers the White Sox and Cubs for Shaw Media. Write to her at mmontemurro@shawmedia.com. Read the Sox Insider and Inside the Cubs blogs at NWHerald.com and on Twitter @Sox_Insider and @InsideTheCubs.

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