White Sox

Peavy opens up about health, Ozzie


Peavy opens up about health, Ozzie

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Once upon a time, Jake Peavy was the best pitcher in the National League. Take a look at his trophy case. He has the 2007 Cy Young Award to prove it.

For the last four seasons, Peavy has tried to get back to that pitcher who left the mound in Colorado on October 1st of that year, finishing his season with a career-best 19-6 record, a career-high 240 strikeouts and a career-low 2.54 ERA.

It hasnt been easy -- for Peavy or the White Sox.

Not by a long shot.

Obviously it hasnt been any fun for me, Peavy said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. Its been painful, both physically and emotionally just not being able to be who you know you have been in the past, and who you were traded for. There was no lack of effort. It just wasnt meant to be.

When Kenny Williams acquired Peavy from the Padres on July 31, 2009 for Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Dexter Carter and Adam Russell he was already dealing with an ankle injury. He suffered a strained groin with the White Sox in 2011, but that was a mere paper cut compared to the detached latissmus dorsi tendon that literally tore off the bone in Peavys throwing shoulder in a game against the Angels in 2010.

Peavy was told that his career could be over. A few years before, it likely would have been.

He underwent a rare surgery at Rush University Medical Center to reattach the tendon to the bone. Former major league pitcher Tommy John once had an experimental surgery named after him. If successful, Peavy could be next.

Now 19 months removed from the operation, Peavy is here at spring training, feeling his best from head-to-toe since the White Sox traded for him. It feels amazing actually, Peavy said.

His shoulder is finally healthy, but theres still some mystery. How healthy is it? Neither Jake nor his doctors truly have the answer.

I just dont know. I just dont know what to tell you, Peavy said. I can tell you that Im 19 months out of major surgery that nobody else has had, that nobody else has come back from. So theres no gameplan. Theres no, Hey look at this guy, and this is what he did after x months. The surgeons have just said once youre 18 months, a year and a half out of surgery, youre not going to get any better. About what you have is what you have.

What were going to be working with and what youre going to see is what youre going to get. Is that going to be what I was a few years ago? I certainly hope so. Ive certainly done everything I can possibly do physically to get back to feel the way I did back then. Is my body capable of doing that? I dont know. I can promise you Im going to find out and Im going to leave it all between the white lines and it starts here at spring training.

No one will come out and say that Peavy will be able to become a Cy Young-caliber pitcher again. The one exception might be Peavy.

I believe I can. I really do. If I didnt believe it, I wouldnt be here, he said.

For the first time since the White Sox moved their spring training facility to Glendale in 2009, Ozzie Guillen isnt here. Listen carefully, and you can hear his memorable rants echoing off the walls.

Guillens long-standing feud with Williams reached the point where somebody had to leave. It ended up being Guillen.

I was only here for a few years, and I know theres been plenty of articles and stuff written, and I think we all can agree that it had run its course, Peavy said about the GuillenWilliams saga.

Meanwhile, tension between Guillen and Peavy developed at the end of last season and into the winter when both took verbal shots at each other in the media about which one of them quit on the team following Guillens exit for Miami with two games left in the season.

Me and Ozzie ended the season on a little bit different terms, Peavy said. He thought I quit on him. There was no quit in me at all. It was just a perfect way to end the season. Numbers-wise we could not make the playoffs. I was heavily medicated and my arm, not throwing between starts, I wasnt going to do that for two more starts. Why? We had Dylan Axelrod and some other kids that were looking for an audition. It was a perfect storm. Me, Kenny, Coop, Herm Schneider, were all on the same page. Ozzie saw things a little different, and said his mind which is fine. He wasnt crazy happy with me.

But the two have since patched things up.

I love Ozzie. I was just laughing and was never meaning to create no firestorm. I love Ozzie, his boys. Ozzie was good to me, Peavy said.

However, a 79-83 record last season wasnt good for the White Sox, picked by many to win the division. As the losses piled up and the frustrations mounted, not everyone got along. Its not the first time its happened. It wont be the last.

You can put a bunch of criminals in that clubhouse, but if those criminals go out and win 105 games, everybody would be fine with it and theyll get along. Theyd be like brothers, Peavy said. You put a bunch of pastors in that room in there and lose 100 games, and theyll be cussing. Baseball takes a mental and physical toll. Thats why it takes special people to play it and thick skin."

Peavy has certainly needed that.

Its been painful, but like I said, you live and you learn, he said. But Ive lived through a lot the last two years and I certainly took some of those healthy years for granted, but I promise you...never again.

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the New York Yankees?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the New York Yankees?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the New York Yankees?

You know how everybody always (usually jokingly) refers to “stacked” lineups as the ‘27 Yankees? Well, it might be time to change that to the ‘18 Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers did their nickname justice this winter, adding reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and teaming him with Aaron Judge to form a power-hitting combo perhaps unseen since the Ruth-Gehrig glory days.

Now that’s not to suggest that Stanton and Judge are going to become two of the greatest baseball players in history. But it is to suggest that they’re going to strike fear into opposing pitchers, with plenty of prognosticators predicting a combined 100 homers for the duo. That’s not crazy, either, considering Stanton led baseball with 59 bombs a season ago, the highest single-season total in almost two decades, and in a runaway Rookie of the Year campaign, Judge crushed 52 homers to lead the American League.

So, you know, 59 plus 52. That’s more than 100.

And while Stanton and Judge take all the attention, the Yankees’ lineup is pretty darn good outside of those two guys, too. Gary Sanchez is one of baseball’s best offensive catchers and hit an only shabby-by-comparison 33 homers last season. Didi Gregorius has plenty of pop for a shortstop, and he smacked 25 homers last season. Brett Gardner had a strong 2017. And even two late-in-the-offseason additions to the infield, Neil Walker and Brandon Drury, form a better 8-9 combo than most teams in the AL.

There’s no need to start spreading the news, it’s already been spread: The Yankees have one of the best, most fearsome offenses in the game.

As for the pitching, well that ain’t half bad either. Luis Severino had a 2.98 ERA and 230 strikeouts last season. CC Sabathia had a 3.69 ERA in 27 starts. Midseason acquisition Sonny Gray had a 3.55 ERA on the year. Masahiro Tanaka almost hit the 200-strikeout plateau.

And that bullpen is outstanding. Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren formed as good a relief corps as you were likely to find in baseball last year.

Even with the division-rival Red Sox looking pretty good — and coming off a 93-win season — the Yanks will enter 2018 as the favorite in the always-competitive AL East. The question is how close they’ll come to being the favorite in the AL overall. The defending-champion Houston Astros still seem a hair ahead after besting the Yankees in last year’s ALCS. But the Bombers might have the preseason edge over the Cleveland Indians, especially after beating them in the playoffs last year.

Bottom line: The Yankees are really, really good. And don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of Billy Joel during the Fall Classic. "Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood ..."

2017 record: 91-71, second place in AL East, lost in ALCS

Offseason additions: Giancarlo Stanton, Neil Walker, Brandon Drury

Offseason departures: Todd Frazier, Jaime Garcia, Michael Pineda, Starlin Castro

X-factor: White Sox fans know how good Robertson and Kahnle were last season. Chapman and Betances are now household names as elite relief pitchers. But the best reliever of this whole group at the end of last season was Green, who finished the year with a 1.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 69 innings. Over his final 30 games, 47 innings, he had an even lower 1.53 ERA and 77 strikeouts. He allowed one run in September. And though he was roughed up a bit in his lone appearance against the Indians in the ALDS, he allowed just one unearned run in 6.1 innings against the Astros in the ALCS.

Projected lineup:

1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
4. Gary Sanchez, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Aaron Hicks, CF
7. Greg Bird, 1B
8. Neil Walker, 2B
9. Brandon Drury, 3B

Projected rotation:

1. Luis Severino
2. Masahiro Tanaka
3. CC Sabathia
4. Sonny Gray
5. Jordan Montgomery

Prediction: First place in AL East

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies

Ryan Cordell goes to Triple-A as White Sox seemingly figure out center field situation


Ryan Cordell goes to Triple-A as White Sox seemingly figure out center field situation

The White Sox center field situation seems to have a solution.

Ryan Cordell was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, the team announced Thursday, bringing his bid to make the Opening Day roster to an end.

Cordell had a nice spring in his first action since joining the White Sox organization in last summer's trade that sent reliever Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers. Cordell was injured after playing 68 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs last season, but he got some love from general manager Rick Hahn at this winter's SoxFest, with Hahn saying three teams had called the White Sox inquiring about the 25-year-old outfielder.

In 17 Cactus League games, Cordell slashed an impressive .317/.417/.512 with six extra-base hits, eight runs scored, eight RBIs, seven walks and only six strikeouts. That performance brought on the idea that Cordell could not only make the team out of camp but perhaps be the Opening Day center fielder, potentially beating out an improved Adam Engel for the job after Engel hit just .166 last season.

But Engel's spring numbers are even better than Cordell's. He's got a .364/.429/.682 slash line with four homers, 11 runs scored, eight RBIs and four walks. Plus, he's already well known as a strong defender in center after last season's impressive glove work. Spring stats don't mean much, but it's a good sign considering how ineffective Engel was at the plate last season.

With Thursday's news and Engel's impressive spring, it seems the White Sox have things figured out in center to start the season. Engel will likely be the starting center fielder, with utility man Leury Garcia an option there in a reserve role. Cordell and Charlie Tilson, who was sent to Charlotte earlier this spring, are sure get plenty of at-bats in the minors and could be called up should Engel struggle.

Both Engel and Cordell fall into the "see what you've got" category for the rebuilding White Sox. The future of the position figures to belong to highly touted prospect Luis Robert, who was reassigned to minor league camp along with pitchers Rob Scahill and Chris Volstad on Thursday, bringing the White Sox to 32 players in big league camp. But with the team not expected to contend in 2018, Engel has an extended opportunity to figure things out at the big league level. Should he struggle, someone like Cordell or Tilson could have a similar opportunity.