White Sox

Ballantini: The Peavy comeback

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Ballantini: The Peavy comeback

Saturday, March 5, 2011
10:14 a.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

For the first time, Jake Peavy felt comfortable acknowledging what every White Sox fan was holding their breaths aboutnever pitching again.

When you do something as unprecedented as I did, tearing the lat completely off the bone, there certainly can be some doubts creeping in your head with what the future holds, Peavy said. At the same time, being an athlete and competitor who prides himself on being mentally tough and strong, you have to get it in your mind Im going to come back from thisI dont care what has to happen of what I have to do.

By being back on the mound just less than eight months since his devastating injury last July, Peavy has beaten expectations by some 150 percent.

I was told to expect about a year to come back, Peavy said. Thats the norm when you tear tendons. And this wasnt a minor tear, I detached something from the bone.

With expectations set very conservatively, Peavy submitted to surgery in mid-July truly having no idea what was in store.

It was experimental surgery, he said. First off, they asked me if they could videotape the surgery to have some documentation of it. Anthony Romeo out of Chicago did my surgery. I felt very confident in talking about the procedure, of how he was going to get it attached back to the bone.

Romero had to get his muscle from his back and run stitches, sutures and anchors into his bone in order to reattach and anchor the muscle, Peavy said.

I did watch the video, he said. Im not ashamed of what happened for worried about risking anything in the future I wish I would have had Tommy John or some other surgery instead where there was some history.

We had to sit down and come up with our own throwing program and rehab program. Theres not really any precedent set for doing what I did. You want to document everything, because if this injury was to happen again to another pitcher, there would be some help for guys coming back.

And yes, there was a game

While Peavy was the main story Friday and rightfully so, the White Sox fell to 1-4 in early Cactus play with a 3-1 loss. Kendrick was the nemesis, stroking run-scoring safeties in the fourth off of Jesse Crain and in the sixth off of Josh Kinney. In the seventh, Phil Humber gave up a run to account for L.A.s tallies.

The White Sox continued to be mostly anemic on offense, mustering just one afterthought run in the ninth inning. Jim Gallagher, who is playing as if hes the only one in camp who thinks he has a shot at the Opening Day roster, tripled leading off and was knocked home on a Brent Lillibridge single. Lillibridge, who might need to be reminded his roster spot is very much in jeopardy, then was picked off of first base by Ryan Brasier for the first out of the inning. The White Sox also loaded the bases in back-to-back innings (with one out in the fifth and none in the sixth) but were turned away empty-handed.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

The White Sox need starting pitching, so why not bring in a guy with a Cy Young Award sitting on his mantle?

Dallas Keuchel is one of the two biggest names on the starting-pitching market this winter, along with Patrick Corbin, who will get more attention — and likely more dollars — because he's two years younger. But Keuchel's the guy with the track record, the AL Cy Young winner in 2015 (when he was also a top-five MVP finisher), a two-time All Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner and the owner of a 3.28 ERA over the past five seasons, during which he helped the Houston Astros transition from rebuilding to one of baseball's perennial contenders. You might have heard something about them winning the World Series in 2017.

It's true that things have been somewhat up and down for Keuchel since his Cy Young win. After posting a 2.48 ERA with a career-high 216 strikeouts in 33 starts during that 2015 season, he had a 4.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 26 starts in 2016, then a 2.90 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 23 starts in 2017 and a 3.74 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 34 starts last season. But three times in the last five years he's finished with an ERA under 3.00. In other words, he's pretty darn good.

How might he fit with the White Sox? Well, in terms of whether or not he lines up with their long-term plans. Keuchel's older than Corbin, but it's not like he's old. He'll be 31 on Opening Day 2019, and a long-term deal, which he's expected to fetch, would keep him around for another planned transition from rebuilding to contention. Keuchel — a veteran who's accomplished a lot already, including putting a World Series ring on his finger — could be viewed as a Jon Lester type for these rebuilding White Sox, a big name who buys into the front office's long-term plan and helps make those plans become reality.

And there's no doubt the White Sox are in the market for starting pitching this winter. Michael Kopech is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the White Sox decided not to pick up James Shields' option for 2019. That leaves two holes in the starting rotation. An addition like Keuchel would be a long-term one, which means the White Sox would opt to make him a safety net for their still-developing fleet of young pitchers and choose not to roll the dice on a homegrown starting staff for 2020. However, if they're confident in a quintet of Kopech, Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease, then maybe they opt for a couple one-year fill-ins in 2019. Keuchel would not be a one-year fill-in.

Keuchel could also fill the role vacated by Shields, a veteran who could help bring along the young guys in an off-the-field mentor role. His experience going through the dark days of a rebuild — he was a member of Astros teams that lost a combined 310 games from 2012 to 2014 — and coming out the other end a world champ would also figure to be of value.

Of course, the White Sox wouldn't be alone in a pursuit of Keuchel, if they were interested. Thanks to Clayton Kershaw signing a new contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he's one of the two biggest names on the market when it comes to starting pitchers. The White Sox would likely have to go through the same bidding war and pitch of planned future success they would with other big names like Corbin, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

But there's no doubt Keuchel would be an upgrade to this rotation in 2019 and could provide plenty of value for years beyond.

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it

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USA TODAY

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports has made a habit of failing to remember the South Siders in recent years, most notably forgetting (on multiple occasions) that the White Sox did in fact win the 2005 World Series.

It happened enough times that A.J. Pierzynski had some opinions about it.

This time, the omission came in an effort to illustrate how good Mike Trout is, with ESPN researcher Paul Hembekides listing baseball players who appeared in the top four in MVP voting three or more times. Trout, the Los Angeles Angels superstar, has already done it seven times, and boy that is terrific.

But Hembekides left someone out. And that someone let him hear about it.

You tell 'em, Frank.

Yes, the Big Hurt finished in the top four of the AL MVP vote on six separate occasions: 1991 (third), 1993 (first), 1994 (first), 1997 (third), 2000 (second) and 2006 (fourth, while playing for the Oakland Athletics).

ESPN's blind spot for the White Sox doesn't end up meaning much of anything, though it's amusing that they've now managed to leave out a relatively recent World Series champion and a relatively recent first-ballot Hall of Famer.

We all make mistakes. But it's a little funny that ESPN's are, repeatedly, White Sox related.