FORT MYERS, Fla. -- From the start, it's been an eventful spring for Jake Peavy -- and not in the way he would preferred.
First, there was some inflammaiton in his right ring finger, discovered upon his arrival, which slowed him from the start of his throwing program.
Next came the infamous fishing knife accident in which Peavy sliced open a sizable cut in his left index finger, futher disrupting his spring.
So it was some relief that Peavy took the mound Thursday afternoon and achieved a sense of normalcy.
"It was nice to get out there for the first time,'' said Peavy, who tossed three innings plus a batter and allowed a run on two hits and two walks in the Red Sox' 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins, "in a game-like atmosphere and be able to use all your pitches and kind of take that next step. It was nice to ramp up the intensity a little bit more than it had been.''
"He was good,'' declared catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "First time out, he gave us three-plus innings. He threw a lot of strikes. He battled - he did what Jake normally does. He went out and gave us a chance to win.''
"Given that it's his first outing in this setting,'' added John Farrell, "I thought he threw the ball very well. He got out of a first-and-third, one-out situation (in the first). It was good to see him get challenged and the way he used his stuff. He was efficient -- overall, a very good day for him.''
Peavy threw all of his pitches -- fastball, curve, slider, changeup and introduced a split-finger fastball, which he's been experimenting with this spring.
"Early in camp, I wasn't able to use all of my pitches the way other guys have,'' he said. "So to get to my first start and be able to use everything and have the feel that I have for my off-speed stuff, I was pleasantly surprised. (It was a) good first step, but we've got a long way to go.''
He estimated that he threw as many as a dozen split-finger fastballs, after receiving a tutorial from Koji Uehara.
"You can throw it all you want in the pen,'' he said, "but until you throw it to hitters and see their reaction (you don't know). It's not going to be (the same as) Koji Uehara's split-finger, don't get me wrong. But why would you not try to see if you can expand your game?
"It something we're going to use a good bit and have as a weapon.''
"I thought it was good,'' offered Pierzynski. "He threw it for strikes when he needed to and got some outs on it. It will only get better from where it was today.''
After using a bigger outfielder's glove in his simulated game Peavy used his normal glove Thursday, but still had to be mindful of his stitched-up left index finger.
"We made some adjustments to try to catch the ball differently,'' he said. "Catching the ball comes second-nature, but (for now) you can't let it be second-nature. You have to catch the ball where it's supposed to be caught.
"One of those times, I didn't quite catch it the way (I should have); that gets you right back to watching the ball all the way into the glove. But it's a non-issue.''
But Peavy acknowledged that he was instructed not to field a hard comebacker, for fear of setting himself back.
"We were certainly going to be careful with not wanting to bust the wound back open,'' he said. "The wound has healed and closed nicely and we've kept infection out of the finger. The only way it would be a concern would be if it gets broken and becomes an open wound again. The more time that goes by, the stronger the wound gets. We're in good shape with that.''
This is Peavy's first spring with the Sox, and he feels a sense of optimism. After some shoulder and rib issues in recent years, he's healthy -- finger aside -- and looks forward to a strong season.
''I expect big things out of myself,'' he said. "I certainly have some time in the big leagues. There's some wear-and-tear on my body. I'm not blind to that fact. At the same time, I'm 32 years old and I feel like I can be a big part of a championship club and win games on a consistent basis.
"Hopefully, that's what it comes down to. I'm not worried about anything else but staying on the field and seeing how many games I can win for the Boston Red Sox.''