GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 11: Jake Peavy #44 of the Chicago White Sox and his son Wyatt sign baseballs prior to the start of the spring training baseball game against Chicago Cubs at Camelback Ranch on March 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\GYI0063904196.jpg
Updated: June 21, 2011 12:20AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — There’s a Plan B on the Jake Peavy front.
“Plan B, no matter who it is, is not going to be better than [Peavy],’’ White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Monday.
Sorry, Phil Humber, but sometimes the truth hurts.
But, for now, Plan A continued better than anyone could’ve imagined. Peavy got through a third Cactus League start without any setbacks, staying on schedule to begin the season as the No. 5 starter and break camp on the 25-man roster. It’s a scenario that was almost unimaginable at the start of camp.
That’s why the Sox had been keeping a close eye on Humber, the leading candidate to hold down that fifth spot until Peavy was ready. It might not be a factor anymore.
Still working back from a detached right lat that required season-ending surgery last July, Peavy threw four innings, allowing three runs and six hits, while getting the pitch count up to 67. More important was how he felt and how he was talking to the coaching staff between innings.
“Very well, very good,’’ Guillen said of the outing. “The feedback from him in the dugout was the best I got from him in the last three outings he’s had. He was talking very positive. [Monday] he was more aggressive than he was early. He let the ball go a couple of times. I’m very happy with where he is right now.’’
So was Peavy.
“I was a little bit nervous after that [first] start because I didn’t bounce back the way I thought,’’ Peavy said, ‘‘but I put some hours in that training room and the weight room with [director of conditioning Allen Thomas] and [head trainer] Herm [Schneider], and it certainly paid off. I felt quite a bit better [Monday].
“I feel like one of the guys ever since I’ve been here in camp with just a careful eye on things. I haven’t done anything different from what Mark Buehrle would do. Coming off that injury, my volume and the amount of shoulder stuff, weight and conditioning stuff was quite a bit more than some of the other guys, and I think we learned from that. My body didn’t recover.
“But I feel like if things keep progressing the way they are, I jump in that five spot. And if we do have a setback at the rate we’re going at now — as far down the road as we’ve been — I can’t see it being much of a setback.’’
Guillen admitted the organization is still talking about leaving Peavy back in extended spring camp to be more safe than sorry, possibly giving Humber a start, then bringing Peavy into the mix in mid-April.
But Peavy doesn’t want to be brought into the mix as the fifth starter, then get skipped whenever there’s a day off.
“I certainly understand coming off an injury [they’ll be careful], but when I’m deemed healthy, I want the ball every time my spot comes around,’’ Peavy said. “Like I said, I’ll certainly battle my authorities and put up a pretty good fight to get the ball.’’
Notes: Ozzie Guillen maintained that the closer job is still open, but it continued to look like a one-man race Monday. Rookie Chris Sale, who is battling Matt Thornton for the spot, allowed three runs and four hits in one inning, bumping his spring ERA to 7.36.
“I’m not concerned about him, but I’m disappointed a little bit,’’ Guillen said. “Not because he gave up three; that’s part of the game. He was missing spots. The ball was supposed to be in, and it was away. The ball was supposed to be away, and it was in. He was a little out of whack. But that’s all. We have to be patient. A lot of people think he’s Sandy Koufax, 30 years in the big leagues. This kid just came out of college two weeks ago.’’
Actually, last June, but . . .
◆ The Sox made a second round of roster moves after Monday’s loss, optioning pitchers Anthony Carter and Freddy Dolsi, infielder Eduardo Escobar and outfielder Stefan Gartrell to Class AAA Charlotte. They also optioned pitchers Kyle Cofield and Nate Jones to Class AA Birmingham. Pitchers Brandon Hynick and Miguel Socolovich were reassigned to minor-league camp.
With the moves, the Sox have 38 players left in camp.