After his latest start, Jake Peavy reported feeling a distinct discomfort in his pitching shoulder. With further review, it was eluded that Peavy may be diagnosed with tendinitis. His current pitching schedule has been slowed down, and his hopes to make Opening Day are slowly fading away.
The question stands to be asked, if Peavy is not ready to go come April 1st, what do the White Sox do?
Very simply, they don't need Peavy for the first week of the season. If this is a minor bump in the rehab schedule, then the White Sox can stand pat and wait for Peavy to return during the home opener of the season. The early off day allows the rotation to pitch on continued five-day rest until the second game of the home opener.
On the other hand, if Peavy's injury is enough to start him on the 15-day DL for the beginning of the season, the White Sox will need to find a temporary replacement for Peavy.
There are still free-agent starters in the market available. Kevin Millwood can be a serviceable pitcher for a team over a length of time. He will not be an ace to any extent, but he can eat up innings. The problem with this theory is that the White Sox are strapped for cash and would have no where to go with any additional starters once Peavy returns.
So the next logical road would be to find an in house replacement. Chris Sale would most likely be the name on the tip of most White Sox fans' tongues. Sale has not been steady at all this spring. He has posted a 6.48 era over 8 IP. While the statistics are not horrible, the simple fact is he is too young to rush into the rotation. Sale is a promising young starter who could have a bright future in the rotation. The White Sox need to take a page out of Minnesota's book and allow their young pitching talent to mature in the bullpen before heading into the rotation.
With Sale out of the picture, that leaves two main answers to the possible open spot, Phil Humber and Jeffery Marquez. Marquez has pitched tremendous this spring. He has established himself as a candidate for the long relief role in the Sox bullpen this season. In the minors, he has been brought up as a starter and could easily fill in for a pinch. Phil Humber has also had a tremendous spring. He was once a very promising young pitching prospect. Either one of these guys might be a solid candidate to fill in for the White Sox early on.
One thought that many fans may groan at the mention of, but needs to be considered as a serious option, is the idea of Tony Pena filling in at the beginning of the season. Although not the ideal candidate to fill in, Pena emerged as a favorite go-to guy for Ozzie Guillen last year for spot starts.
With the options available to the White Sox, the most likely to occur is either Humber being stretched out for the start of the season or Pena stepping in for the first two weeks. For all Sox fans out there, just hope Peavy will be fine come April 1st.