Jake Peavy: ‘I feel as healthy as I’ve ever been’

'I really believe that our team can win the World Series,' Jake Peavy says.
‘I really believe that our team can win the World Series,’ Jake Peavy says.

Dealt to the White Sox just before the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline last season, Peavy didn’t make his Chicago debut until Sept. 19 because of ankle and elbow injuries. The ace recently spoke with Sporting News’ Dave Curtis and other reporters about his outlook for 2010.

Question: This pitching staff is something else. How excited are you?

Jake Peavy: I didn’t know what this team was made of until I got over here and became a part. Getting to see John Danks in person, Gavin Floyd. I’m super-excited. You know what we bring to the table night in and night out with the starting staff. And I love what (general manager Ken Williams) has done with the bullpen. To have J.J. Putz to go along with a great closer in Bobby (Jenks) and Matt Thornton, you play five- to six-inning ballgames. … With J.J. Putz, (Scott) Linebrink maybe rebounding, Tony Pena, those are your sixth- and seventh-inning guys giving the ball to Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks. You’ve got to feel good.

Q: What’s your mindset this year now that you’ve been around a little bit?

JP: I really believe that our team can win the World Series from Day 1. I’m sure Kenny will tweak and make moves throughout the season, which he’s always done. But I believe this team assembled right now has a chance and is very capable and should win the A.L. Central. And I believe once we get in (the postseason), we’re as talented as anybody and can compete on a nightly basis with the Yankees, with the top-tier teams in baseball.

Q: How is your health?

JP: I feel as healthy as I’ve ever been. I told a lot of people last year, "When you saw me, I wasn’t in fighting shape." I just wasn’t ready to go. I was coming out of an eight-week cast. I wasn’t able to work out or do anything else. I was about 10 to 15 pounds heavier when you guys saw me last year. … It was a challenge just to get back and pitch those last three games.

Q:  How much of an advantage is it going to be for you to be healthy from the start?

JP: It’s going to be a blessing. Last year was a struggle for me to come into a new environment to pitch and to encounter all the setbacks and not be in shape. … When you get out there, you want to do well. You just got traded, four players for one. So you want to do what you’re capable of doing. Fortunately, I was able to go out and show my teammates, You know what, I’m capable of being a good part of this team. To come into spring training healthy, it’s just like a normal year.

Q: Who do you think has the advantage when you move to a new league: the hitters you haven’t seen, or you, because the hitters haven’t seen you?

JP: It can go either way. I can promise you this: I haven’t faced a lot of these American League guys, (but) when I go into my (first) start … I’ll know everything about those hitters and their tendencies and what they’re going to do and should do and what they ate for breakfast that morning.

Q:  Do you think you’re going to be an emotional leader for this team?

JP: I’m not going to go out there and be a hothead or let things get out of hand. But I’m passionate, and I want to win. That’s the bottom line. And when I take the field, whenever that is, I want to win. And I expect the eight other guys taking the field with me to lay it on the line. If that’s being a role model, I don’t know. Guys go about it in different ways. I’ll try to bring that on the day I pitch and be in the dugout on the days I’m not pitching, to encourage guys and try to keep them motivated.

SN: Ken Williams said it’s important for the young pitchers to know how a No. 1 works. How much do you think you can influence the team’s young pitchers?

JP: Well, I’m certainly going to try to be a leader. … Mark Buehrle has done a great job since he’s been here of mentoring these kids. When I got over here, I was amazed at these guys’ work ethic and the way they went about preparing and taking every fifth day seriously. I’m going to jump right in. We’re all already buddies. We’re going to become closer over the next couple of years.

I’m going to try to throw things at them that might make them better, and I certainly believe they’re going to do the same to me. Any time you’re around someone who does what you do for a craft — I don’t care how long you’ve been doing it or what you’ve been doing — you can always talk and make each other better.

Q: Are you a goal-oriented guy, as far as putting numbers down in your mind?

JP: No. For myself or for my team. I’ve got no numbers. I’ll just tell you I’ll pour every bit of my energy into my opening start. I imagine it will be against Cleveland. Then, I go to the next one. My goal is to give everything I have on that night and walk away from it knowing that I came there and pitched that night. There are too many ups and downs.

Q:  Is the relationship between a pitcher and a catcher overblown? How important is it that A.J. Pierzynski gets to know what you like to throw in which situations?

JP: I think it’s very important that we got to work three games together last year. … It’s not overblown by any means. When you have confidence in each other to do certain things, you get in a rhythm. If you’re going good and you get out of that rhythm, it can kind of knock you off your game a little bit. If you struggle to get into that rhythm, you know, it can be a long night.

'I really believe that our team can win the World Series,' Jake Peavy says.
‘I really believe that our team can win the World Series,’ Jake Peavy says.

Dealt to the White Sox just before the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline last season, Peavy didn’t make his Chicago debut until Sept. 19 because of ankle and elbow injuries. The ace recently spoke with Sporting News’ Dave Curtis and other reporters about his outlook for 2010.

Question: This pitching staff is something else. How excited are you?

Jake Peavy: I didn’t know what this team was made of until I got over here and became a part. Getting to see John Danks in person, Gavin Floyd. I’m super-excited. You know what we bring to the table night in and night out with the starting staff. And I love what (general manager Ken Williams) has done with the bullpen. To have J.J. Putz to go along with a great closer in Bobby (Jenks) and Matt Thornton, you play five- to six-inning ballgames. … With J.J. Putz, (Scott) Linebrink maybe rebounding, Tony Pena, those are your sixth- and seventh-inning guys giving the ball to Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks. You’ve got to feel good.

Q: What’s your mindset this year now that you’ve been around a little bit?

JP: I really believe that our team can win the World Series from Day 1. I’m sure Kenny will tweak and make moves throughout the season, which he’s always done. But I believe this team assembled right now has a chance and is very capable and should win the A.L. Central. And I believe once we get in (the postseason), we’re as talented as anybody and can compete on a nightly basis with the Yankees, with the top-tier teams in baseball.

Q: How is your health?

JP: I feel as healthy as I’ve ever been. I told a lot of people last year, "When you saw me, I wasn’t in fighting shape." I just wasn’t ready to go. I was coming out of an eight-week cast. I wasn’t able to work out or do anything else. I was about 10 to 15 pounds heavier when you guys saw me last year. … It was a challenge just to get back and pitch those last three games.

Q:  How much of an advantage is it going to be for you to be healthy from the start?

JP: It’s going to be a blessing. Last year was a struggle for me to come into a new environment to pitch and to encounter all the setbacks and not be in shape. … When you get out there, you want to do well. You just got traded, four players for one. So you want to do what you’re capable of doing. Fortunately, I was able to go out and show my teammates, You know what, I’m capable of being a good part of this team. To come into spring training healthy, it’s just like a normal year.

Q: Who do you think has the advantage when you move to a new league: the hitters you haven’t seen, or you, because the hitters haven’t seen you?

JP: It can go either way. I can promise you this: I haven’t faced a lot of these American League guys, (but) when I go into my (first) start … I’ll know everything about those hitters and their tendencies and what they’re going to do and should do and what they ate for breakfast that morning.

Q:  Do you think you’re going to be an emotional leader for this team?

JP: I’m not going to go out there and be a hothead or let things get out of hand. But I’m passionate, and I want to win. That’s the bottom line. And when I take the field, whenever that is, I want to win. And I expect the eight other guys taking the field with me to lay it on the line. If that’s being a role model, I don’t know. Guys go about it in different ways. I’ll try to bring that on the day I pitch and be in the dugout on the days I’m not pitching, to encourage guys and try to keep them motivated.

SN: Ken Williams said it’s important for the young pitchers to know how a No. 1 works. How much do you think you can influence the team’s young pitchers?

JP: Well, I’m certainly going to try to be a leader. … Mark Buehrle has done a great job since he’s been here of mentoring these kids. When I got over here, I was amazed at these guys’ work ethic and the way they went about preparing and taking every fifth day seriously. I’m going to jump right in. We’re all already buddies. We’re going to become closer over the next couple of years.

I’m going to try to throw things at them that might make them better, and I certainly believe they’re going to do the same to me. Any time you’re around someone who does what you do for a craft — I don’t care how long you’ve been doing it or what you’ve been doing — you can always talk and make each other better.

Q: Are you a goal-oriented guy, as far as putting numbers down in your mind?

JP: No. For myself or for my team. I’ve got no numbers. I’ll just tell you I’ll pour every bit of my energy into my opening start. I imagine it will be against Cleveland. Then, I go to the next one. My goal is to give everything I have on that night and walk away from it knowing that I came there and pitched that night. There are too many ups and downs.

Q:  Is the relationship between a pitcher and a catcher overblown? How important is it that A.J. Pierzynski gets to know what you like to throw in which situations?

JP: I think it’s very important that we got to work three games together last year. … It’s not overblown by any means. When you have confidence in each other to do certain things, you get in a rhythm. If you’re going good and you get out of that rhythm, it can kind of knock you off your game a little bit. If you struggle to get into that rhythm, you know, it can be a long night.

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