White Sox

A healthy Peavy clears the air

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A healthy Peavy clears the air

For the first time since coming to Chicago, Jake Peavy hasn't had to worry about rehabbing anything during the winter. While that usually would lead to some sense of normalcy, Peavy won't know exactly where he's at until spring training. After all, he's five years removed from his last 200-inning season -- a number Kenny Williams fully expects his starter to reach in 2011.

"I'm as sure as I'm going to get that I'm as good as I'm going to get, so I gotta find out where I stand," Peavy said Friday. "I've let it go and I've done everything I can to hopefully get back to close to, if not the form I had when I got here."

That form, though, has escaped Peavy in the last two seasons. Just as he was turning a corner in 2010, his latissimus dorsi muscle tore clean off his shoulder. In 2011, he struggled through and up-and-down campaign that saw him sputter to a 4.92 ERA.

"The last few years haven't been fun," Peavy admitted. "There've certainly been times when I've asked myself, 'are you really going to go on like this?' But, at the same time, you gotta push through. As an athlete, I love this game -- I want to do what I got traded to Chicago to do, and that's be healthy and help this team win.

"I haven't really been able to be that guy," Peavy continued. "I'm not going to blame it all on injuries, but we all know I had some pretty significant injuries that hasn't been fun. But at the same time, I am who I am, I'm gonna go out there and give it all I've got to give."

Peavy's preached optimism in the last couple of years, but he has yet to revert to his former self on a consistent basis. For every shutout of a strong Indians lineup, there was a shellacking at the hands of a generally-hapless Twins offense.

But perhaps this year will finally be the one that's different -- after all, it's the first normal offseason Peavy's had in years.

Well, normal on a preparation level. His "feud" with Ozzie Guillen, of course, was hardly normal.

"I love Ozzie Guillen. A lot of that stuff was taken out of context," explained Peavy, referring to his comments about Ozzie quitting on the 2011 White Sox. "Ozzie knows I love him, I gave Ozzie everything I had to give him, and he knows that. When people were saying he was going to come out firing, I said there's nothing he can say about me unless he wants to not say the truth, because I truly gave him everything I could give him as a player. He did the same for me as a manager. I never spoke bad about Ozzie as a manager at all.

"I love Ozzie and we wish him the best in Miami. I'm glad that's over with."

So outside of that little blip with the maybe-not feud with Guillen, everything's been great for Peavy this winter. That normalcy could go a long way. He doesn't feel any trepidation regarding his arm -- it's not going to be any better, but it certainly won't get any worse.

And there's one other positive to take away.

"My offseason's great," said Peavy with a grin. "Alabama just won their fourth national title."

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.