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Peavy back to his old tricks

By Shawn Clarke, Contributing MLB Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - He shouldn't be able to throw a 95 mph fastball let alone the fifth shutout of his career.

Less than a year after experimental shoulder surgery Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy did just that and appears to be back to his old Cy Young ways, at least for one start. Peavy is in the fold after undergoing surgery to reattach the tendon that anchors the latissimus dorsi muscle to the right posterior shoulder following a July 6, 2010 start against the LA Angels.

"I never felt a worse pain in my life," Peavy explained. "And I knew I felt something that turned loose in my arm and went down in my back, and it felt as worse as I've ever felt on the mound."

An injury and subsequent surgical procedure of this magnitude generally requires a year of rehabilitation. Just don't tell that to Peavy. The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner as a member of the San Diego Padres easily could have given up with cries of woe, but Peavy worked too hard to get back to what he loves the most in about 10 months. He made his much-anticipated debut on May 11 in a 6-4 win coincidentally against the Angels and was reached for four runs in six innings. He was limited to 87 pitches.

Peavy further implanted the notion that he was in midseason shape last night in a 1-0 victory over one of Major League Baseball's hottest teams, the rival and AL Central Division-leading Cleveland Indians. Peavy stared down the Tribe's lineup to the tune of 111 pitches, 78 of which were strikes. He struck out eight batters, scattered three hits and did not issue a walk. Peavy used his fastball and nasty slider to fool hitters, including Shelley Duncan, and even mixed in a few sidearm deliveries.


Jake Peavy is penning his own feel-good story.
"There's a lot of guys on this team he was really good with hitting the corners, doing what he needed to do to win," Cleveland's designated hitter said postgame. "He was himself, switching arm angles, screwing your timing up. Just tricky Peavy."

Chicago DH Adam Dunn is familiar with what Peavy brings to the table and now they're teammates. Dunn noted that it looks as if the arm strength is back and hasn't seen Peavy throw that well in a few years. Peavy's last full season came in 2008, when he went 10-11 in 27 starts for the Padres. He made 13 starts the following year with San Diego before landing in the Windy City via trade, winning all three of his starts with the Pale Hose.

Peavy's 2010 campaign consisted of 17 starts and a 7-6 record before a devastating injury put an end to his season. Now he's a part of a rotation that features six quality arms in Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber. With Peavy's temporary resurgence, Humber could be the odd man out despite Danks sporting an 0-6 mark and 4.32 ERA. Humber is slated to pitch against the Dodgers on Friday, while Floyd has a tough act to follow tonight versus the Indians. Humber has been dealing with an illness and got some extra rest to prepare for Los Angeles.

"I'm finally starting to get over it," the right-handed Humber told the Chicago Tribune. "Hopefully next time out there I'll be 100 percent and feel a whole lot better."

Before Peavy's gem on Wednesday, Chicago's six starting pitchers were 2-2 with a 5.50 earned run average with 14 walks and 23 strikeouts in six games, while opposing hitters were batting a decent .312 with one homer.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Peavy, a two-time All-Star who's 4-1 in his last seven starts dating back to 2010, makes his job a lot easier. That was an easy assessment from the fiery skipper since the surgically-repaired limb of Peavy proved it was capable of keeping Guillen calm and trimming Cleveland's lead atop the division to nine games with an inspirational performance.

While it's clear Peavy is penning his own feel-good story for athletes with doubts on returning to form when dealing with severe injuries, Chicago's hitters have been holding up their end of the bargain lately by helping the club to two straight wins and eight in the past 11 games.

A reliable and injury-free six-man rotation coupled with consistent hitting should make Chicago's race towards Central supremacy a tight one come August.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Shawn Clarke at sclarke@sportsnetwork.com.

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