Peavy eager to chase postseason with Red Sox
Former Cy Young Award winner's competitive drive apparent in Boston introduction
BOSTON -- At the age of 32, Jake Peavy has won a Cy Young Award and made three All-Star teams, but it's obvious he's nowhere near the point of contentment in his career.
In Peavy's 18-minute introduction to the Boston media on Thursday afternoon, it became clear time and again that the competition is what drives him.
That thirst for wanting to pitch in a pennant race when an entire city is depending on you is just one of the reasons Peavy was so excited that the Red Sox were the team that acquired him in a trade with the White Sox late Tuesday night.
"I guess it just came from my upbringing, from my father growing up in the South, and just, when we worked hard, we played hard and when we played, we played to win," said Peavy. "And so, I guess that's just where it came from. I loved being described as that. I'm going to be ready to pitch on my days. I'm going to get ready on the days in between. And come 7:05, I'm going to absolutely give everything I can possibly give on that day."
That first day for the Red Sox will be Saturday night at Fenway Park against the D-backs.
Peavy suspects Boston teammates, fans and media members might swiftly notice his intensity on the mound. But he also looks forward to taking in the day, and all those that follow.
"It will be fun. The crowd, the atmosphere, the energy always surrounding this ballpark, it was always fun here to come and play. I've only pitched here one time to my recollection," Peavy said. "But I can't tell you how much that brings and adds to a player, to a ballclub.
"You guys who have watched me pitch, and know I'm emotional, you have to channel that and make sure it's directed in positive ways and make sure you don't lose your head. As emotional as you guys think I am, there will be so much between the ears in that 15 seconds you get the ball back and what happened in that pitch and what will be the next pitch. The situation, the score, the inning, what has that guy done in his last at-bat."
As much as Peavy enjoyed his time with the Padres and White Sox, he has never experienced a season that ended in a parade. In fact, Peavy has only been to the postseason twice, getting bounced in the National League Division Series with his San Diego teams in 2005 and '06.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more to come to a team who is now in first place with a realistic chance this year of being a world champion, which is why we all play the game," said Peavy. "To have a chance to compete in the postseason. It would be a dream come true. That's something I know a lot of other guys expect, and I expect to do it and be a contributing factor here going forward."
Though it takes anyone time to gain complete comfort in his new surroundings, Peavy's transition could be quicker than most.
Juan Nieves, Boston's pitching coach, was his bullpen coach with the White Sox. And when Peavy looks around the clubhouse, he sees two veteran right-handers at similar points in their careers in John Lackey and Ryan Dempster.
"We do a lot of things alike," Peavy said. "We're kind of in the same parts of our career and I think we can feed and really help each other as far as preparation and in-game adjustments and stuff. And I know how good Juan Nieves is with getting ready for a team, and that's something I've always respected. So the thing I can add is I think I can win. I still think I can be a pitcher who can go out every fifth day and give my team a chance to win and I expect to do that."
After weeks of speculation that he would be traded, Peavy is just pleased to know where his home will be through at least the end of 2014. There's an option that could kick in for '15 if Peavy reaches innings incentives.
"It's difficult when you don't have any say over what your future holds," Peavy said. "When you have three little boys, you want to try to get to see them before they start school and you can't plan because you don't know where the next days, hours of your life are going to be spent. It is a draining process."
But that was earlier this week. Now, Peavy is feeling invigorated.
Though Peavy has experienced some injuries over the years, he feels he has a lot of good pitching left in him.
"Once you get labeled you're hurt, you fight that and you fight it," Peavy said. "So last year meant the world to me to throw 220 innings and then to get off to a good start this year, and then miss time for something that you really feel is non-baseball related -- broken ribs -- and something you really couldn't pinpoint how it happened, that was tough. I'm as healthy as I can be now. I'm still working my way back, pitch-count wise. But I expect nothing more than to throw 100 or so pitches here Saturday and win."