Peavy: 'I couldn't ask for anything more'

Peavy: 'I couldn't ask for anything more'
August 1, 2013, 8:00 pm
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BOSTON --  Right-hander Jake Peavy, acquired by the Red Sox on Tuesday in a three-team deal that also saw Jose Iglesias sent to Detroit, reported to Fenway Park on Thursday and will make his first start for the Sox on Saturday against the Diamondbacks.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here today,” Peavy said Thursday afternoon. “Obviously with the tradition of the Boston Red Sox, coming in as a visiting player at Fenway Park and always relishing the opportunity to play in such a historic ballpark in front of a great fan base, albeit, not yours. It was always a fun place to play on the road.
“I couldn’t be any more excited to be here, to be a part, to call this home, to join such a franchise with a lot of history and huge expectations. I expect to go out to be a part, to win on my day, just to be the best teammate I can be.”
Peavy, 32, was the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2007 with the Padres when he went 19-6 with a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings – leading the NL in wins and the majors in strikeouts and ERA. He was 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA and a WHIP of 1.14 in 13 starts this season for the White Sox this season. He won his first Gold Glove last season, which he said, “meant the world to me.”
He was drafted by the Padres in the 15th round in 1999. Pitching coach Juan Nieves, who had been an assistant pitching coach for the White Sox before joining the Red Sox, had worked with Peavy after the right-hander was acquired by Chicago at the trade deadline in 2009.  The right-hander was looking forward to being reunited with Nieves.
“I think that’s huge for me,” he said.
Peavy brings with him a solid reputation, known as a high-character character. That has been a major point in the players the Sox have acquired since the blockbuster trade last August with the Dodgers.
He’s had some health issues throughout his career. Most recently he missed almost six weeks with a fractured rib, the origin of which remains a mystery. He was activated from the disabled list on July 20. He had a strained right ankle when the White Sox acquired him, a ruptured tendon in his shoulder in 2010, and various injuries in 2011. He’s healthy now, as healthy as he can be, he said, and has had two good outings against two solid teams – the Braves and Tigers – since coming back from the DL.  He earned wins in both games, going a combined 13 innings, giving up eight runs, six earned, on 11, including four home runs, and two walks with 10 strikeouts.
Peavy is looking forward to being a part of the Sox rotation. And, with the return of Clay Buchholz still uncertain, Peavy offers a measure of certainty down the stretch.
“I think us three, [with Ryan Dempster and John Lackey], 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 prep. In-game adjustments I know how good Juan Nieves is with getting ready for a team, and that’s something I always respected. So the thing I can add, I think I can win. I think I can be a pitcher who can go out every fifth day and give my team a chance to win. I expect to do that. ... I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think I could still be a contributing factor on a good ballclub.”
This was not Peavy’s first experience changing teams at the trading deadline. In 2009 the Padres sent him to the White Sox, getting four players in return. Prior to that, Peavy had become accustomed to hearing his name churned through the trade-rumor mill.
“It is a draining process,” he said, of being traded. “At the same time, all you can do is ride it out and be prepared for something when it happens. We were. It made the flight and everything that we endured the last 24 hours as painless as could be. Boston has been amazing, the staff, [traveling secretary] Jack [McCormick], and everybody getting me here.
“I think the opportunity that I’ve been given, I couldn’t ask for anything more to come to a team who now obviously in first place with a realistic chance of being a world champion. Which is why we all play the game, to have a chance to compete in the postseason.”
It’s an opportunity Peavy would also like for another reason. His previous forays into the postseason did not go well. In 2005 and 2006, with the Padres, the Cardinals pounded him for a combined 13 earned runs on 19 hits and four walks, three intentional,  with five strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings for a 12.10 ERA over two games.
Peavy, who joked that he is legally blind without glasses or contacts, has made one appearance at Fenway Park, earning the win when he went seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits, one home run, with no walks and two strikeouts.
He knows he’s not the same pitcher now, in his 12th big league season, as he was earlier in his career. He credits Greg Maddux for helping learn to evolve as a pitcher
“I definitely think I’ve evolved,” he said. “The stuff is definitely not anywhere as close to overpowering as one point in time that I felt like I had. But at the same time I think I’m as good as I was back then in different ways.”
The Red Sox are counting on that.