The goal for Jake Peavy is to have a full season. That shouldn't seem like much, but the veteran pitcher has yet to have one of those since he was acquired from the Padres in the middle of the 2009 season.
Peavy is looking to change that.
"I would expect we'd see more of the old Jake Peavy than what we've seen the past couple years because he's healthy," general manager Ken Williams said. "He showed us glimpses of that when he had his rehab last year."
Now they need more than glimpses.
Peavy, 30, begins the final season of his three-year, $52 million contract, with the White Sox holding a $22 million option along with a $4 million buyout for 2013.
There is no way the White Sox will pick up that option, so Peavy is basically pitching for his next job with a new team.
"From the time I got traded ... I was in a cast when I got traded over here," Peavy said. "I just never walked into it completely healthy, and with a fresh mind, fresh start, I look forward to that. I have a lot to prove to a lot of the fans.
"Self-confidence, who I know I can be if I'm healthy, that's there. It's just the bottom line of if my body will let me do it. I expect it to. There is no game plan. I'm healthy as I can possibly be. Let's see where it takes us. I'm excited and optimistic, and it's the first time I've been like this for a lot of springs to not have to answer injury questions."
Manager Robin Ventura got an up-close look at Peavy on the first day, and will likely keep a close eye on the veteran as camp continues.
"He looked pretty free and easy watching him throw," Ventura said. "His mind's right and he's feeling healthy. For him, and us, it's important for him to get through spring feeling good. As far as his talent and trusting him, I have that. He just needs to be healthy and feel like he's healthy."
The White Sox would not come out and say that Peavy is the ace of the staff, but they hope Peavy's pitching talks for him.
"When he's healthy, he's a special guy and a guy who can be a No. 1 in anyone's rotation," Williams said. "I'm anxious for the people of Chicago to see the Jake Peavy we traded for."
White Sox Notes & Quotes
The side show created by former manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Kenny Williams conspired to cost the White Sox games last season, captain Paul Konerko said.
"There were probably games and days given away because of people worrying about things that were not related to the game of baseball," Konerko said. "Especially toward the end last year we were just giving away games, and you know big-league players should be mentally tougher than to have that stuff bother you ... but then it all came to a head, and I guess that's how things go. If it didn't go that way then no one would see the need to make a change."
Guillen and Williams brought the White Sox a World Series championship in 2005, but their relationship soured during the past two seasons. On their way to a 79-83 finish, Guillen was granted a release from his contract with two games left in the season and took over as the new Miami Marlins manager a few days after that.
Konerko welcomes the new beginning under manager Robin Ventura.
"Going into this year that is what this team has to offer; there are no side issues," said Konerko. "I think we will be approaching it right saying the right stuff and getting after it and the talent will dictate where we end up."
C A.J. Pierzynski made his first visit to the 15-day disabled list last season, after a pitch broke his left wrist in August. So this offseason was about making sure the wrist is healed and ready for a full season.
"I had to really push it this winter to make sure it was better," Pierzynski said. "I hit a whole lot in the offseason when I was younger and by the time I got to spring training, I was kind of bored and burned out going to the cage. I made a decision a couple of years ago. I have a tee in my house and a net, and I'll take some swings there just to keep my hands good but not really hit. This year, because of my wrist last year, I decided to take some more swings and do a lot more hitting-wise. I always threw and stayed in shape, but I did some more hitting."
Manager Robin Ventura was willing to address a lot of topics on his first day of camp, but naming an Opening Day starting pitcher was not one of them.
"I'm not going there yet," Ventura said. "We're going to plan for that here in the next week or two before we get into games." All signs point to LHP John Danks being that No. 1 guy, especially with the White Sox opening the season in Texas, where Danks once played.
LHP John Danks made headlines this offseason by landing one of the biggest contracts the White Sox have ever given to a pitcher of their own -- the five-year, $65 million extension showed the southpaw that the White Sox did want to keep him on the South Side for the time being. What Danks is staying away from is trying to pitch up to that contract.
"I've always had the attitude that I've been overpaid from the beginning," Danks said with a laugh. "I've been trying to earn it since my rookie year. Like I said, whenever you're on the field, you don't think about that stuff. It's all about trying to help the team win and me getting the hitter out."
RHP Jesse Crain has heard his name mentioned as a candidate for the closer job, and rather than shy away from it, Crain wants to take it with open arms.
"They know how I feel about getting an opportunity, but I can't control that," Crain said. "I'm sure they have someone in mind they want that to go to. I'm going to work hard, let them make the decision and hopefully it's the right one." Crain, as well as RHP Addison Reed and LHP Matt Thornton, will each get a serious look in spring camp.
LHP Matt Thornton is one of the White Sox veterans glad to see the "All In" marketing slogan from last season all gone. Not that Thornton likes the idea of lowering the bar, but Thornton thought things got out of control with the "All In."
"The 'All In' thing got abused last year," Thornton said. "I'm glad that one is over with, and it didn't work out well, anyway. I can't wait to get out on the field and start playing games. We have a lot of guys itching to get out there, and some young guys itching to go out and prove what they can do and make this team and prove they're ready to go somewhere during the season. There's a good mix of things out here."
By the Numbers: 12 – The most victories Gavin Floyd has had in a season since 2008. The right-hander has also not reached the 200-inning mark since '08, as well. Floyd will be counted on to help fill the void left by Mark Buehrle.
Quote to Note: "I certainly want to interject some things that I feel we need here, but I don't want to do so at the risk of stifling everyone else's ideas and some of the things they bring to the table that we may have been missing. And one of the things I hate the most is when people say, 'Because we've always done it this way, this is how we're going to do it.' I don't think it allows for creativity." -- General manager Ken Williams, on what changes he would like to see under the new coaching regime.