Jake Peavy, Alex Rios give scouts a little taste
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com July 20, 2013 10:26PM
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 20: Jake Peavy #44 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning on July 20, 2013 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
BRAVES AT SOX
The facts: 1:10p.m., Ch. 9, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: Mike Minor (9-4, 3.02 ERA) vs. Jose Quintana (4-2, 3.71).
Updated: August 22, 2013 7:06AM
Everything about the White Sox looked good Saturday, from Jake Peavy’s healthy return to Alex Rios’ healthy exit from the doghouse.
Both must have looked good to the scouts who are following the Sox as the July 31 trade deadline nears, and that might be the lone aspect souring manager Robin Ventura’s view.
‘‘I’d rather keep him,’’ Ventura said flatly about Peavy (7-4), who had a quality start in the Sox’ 10-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves. ‘‘Believe me, that’s very evident for me because he’s a good pitcher, and it’s good for us to have him. But I can’t go there.’’
Ventura was just as pleased with Rios, who went 3-for-5 and had five RBI after getting benched Friday for not hustling on the basepaths.
‘‘He’s just a good player,’’ Ventura said of Rios, whose grand slam off Braves starter Paul Maholm (9-9) in the third inning gave the Sox the lead after they had fallen behind 4-0.
‘‘I don’t think it had anything to do with [Friday night],’’ Ventura said of Rios’ stellar performance. ‘‘Alex was 6-for-6 the other day. It’s been proven before.’’
Rios hadn’t homered since June 9, a span of 120 at-bats, and he was 1-for-13 in his last four games and only 2-for-20 since the 6-for-6 game in Detroit on July 9.
‘‘I felt a lot better today,’’ Rios said, quickly dismissing the notion that he was bent on making up for his mistake Friday.
‘‘I go about my business the same way every day. It doesn’t matter what happened the day before. I try to give my best performance.
‘‘But I felt I was seeing the ball better, so I felt comfortable. It’s been awhile since I hit the ball hard, but today was a good game.’’
The Sox scored at least 10 runs for only the fourth time this season, but what mattered more on many fronts was how Peavy performed as much as how Rios might have redeemed himself in the eyes of potential suitors.
Peavy hadn’t pitched since June 4, when he left his start against Seattle and later was found to have a fractured rib.
A healthy Peavy — with a contract through next season — is a valued commodity, and a half-dozen scouts were taking notes.
He was impressive in six innings, allowing seven hits and only two earned runs with no walks. But he was especially convincing in overcoming a ragged start by the Sox’ defense.
‘‘I think he got better as the game went along,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘He was getting stronger, and that was good to see. He was still competing, doing all that stuff, but to me, he just got better.’’
‘‘I definitely felt like I got a little bit stronger,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘I probably came out of the gate too fast because I was excited. I had a little extra adrenaline.
‘‘I was able to pull the reins back a little bit there, and then toward the middle part of the game, I got my feel back.’’
Dan Uggla had the first hit off Peavy, a home run in the second after an error started off the inning. Evan Gattis was on base with a fielder’s choice, but both runs were unearned.
The Braves scored two more runs in the third on three singles but didn’t score again against Peavy.
Peavy and Rios say they’d prefer to stay put.
‘‘We have a pretty good group of guys here, and we’ve been together for a while,’’ Rios said. ‘‘We have created a bond that if it’s broken, it hurts. But if it happens, it happens.’’