Citing arm fatigue, Peavy shut down for season
Recovering right-hander plans to be ready for Spring Training 2012
CHICAGO -- Jake Peavy's 2011 odyssey officially has come to a close.
As first reported by MLB.com on Saturday, the White Sox decided to shut down Peavy for the remainder of the season with the team falling 9 1/2 games the American League Central-leading Tigers. Rookie Dylan Axelrod will take Peavy's place on Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers.
The original thought was to cut short Peavy's season in order to prevent injury, with the right-hander coming back from surgery to reattach his lat muscle last July. But as Peavy explained Sunday morning, that small level of fear served as just part of the decision-making process.
In order to fight his way back to the mound in 2011, Peavy has been working on a rehab program since last August. His throwing program also started far earlier than usual, leaving Peavy battling a general sense of fatigue for the past couple of months.
That feeling was exacerbated for Peavy following his four-inning, 55-pitch scoreless relief effort against the Nationals on June 25.
"It's just the fact of my arm, the recovery process, it just seemed like it took my arm who knows how long to recover?" Peavy said. "As I said, after that relief appearance, I never felt the way I did previous to it.
"We had a pretty good routine. But if you go back and look at the stuff, I never threw as hard as I was."
Peavy blames himself for the damage done by that relief appearance, pointing out that he was the one who wanted the ball after John Danks left early with an oblique strain. But his arm never was able to recover like he wanted, as Peavy has not thrown a side session between starts since.
Although Peavy admitted to having received a cortisone shot to see if it would ease a bit of the discomfort, he said this problem has nothing to do with an injury.
"Conditioning the arm, that's going to be the big thing to try to do," Peavy said. "Body wise I felt good, I felt as strong as I can. But my arm, and the doctor said that will be part of it. That's what we talked about being 18 months out. You feel like you're healthy and don't have any pain, but your body's not recovering the way it will recover because it's not fully healed."
"You continue to put him out there when he's tired, then you put him in a big risk to get hurt," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "He could be hurt for good. I don't think there is a reason to go out there and push something if you don't have to and get it worse."
Guillen expects all of his players to play hard, even if they are on the verge of being eliminated, and the action of shutting down Peavy came from Peavy, pitching coach Don Cooper and general manager Ken Williams, in this case. But Guillen also appreciates his players being honest and telling him when they are unable to go.
There will be continued treatment given to Peavy over the next few weeks, as if he were preparing to start. But he will have greater recovery time without the extra stress of going to the mound.
His offseason conditioning program will begin in mid-October, and Peavy plans to begin a throwing program in mid-December. He's not certain if 2012 will bring a return to old, Cy Young-type form, but Peavy can guarantee he'll do everything possible to get there.
"When you can't work on your craft in between starts, when you take the mound, you already feel mentally that you can't make adjustments on the fly," Peavy said. "This whole process simply for the last couple of months has been a grind to pitch and the four, five days between to get my body ready to where I felt like I would have good enough to compete.
"And when I did compete, I wasn't able to go full out for the whole amount of time I was out there because of the fatigue factor. I was trying to piece that together. It was a lot of different things. It was a learning process.
"I learned a lot along the way and you grow. When you go through trials and tribulations and you go through surgeries, it builds character," Peavy said. "I can promise you this, this winter I will work as hard as I can. When I come back I'm not going to take a single thing for granted after what I've been through. I'll be as ready as anybody come Spring Training and I will be expecting to go out and win on my fifth day and give this team everything I've got."