Peavy hopes to return after All-Star break

CHICAGO – White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy is eyeing a return to the rotation after the All-Star break, and his team certainly could use him.

For the first time since Peavy fractured a rib, the 32-year-old played catch before Wednesday’s game against the New York Mets at U.S. Cellular Field. Peavy, who went on the 15-day disabled list June 6, will continue playing catch the rest of the week and then attempt to throw from a mound.

An X-ray Tuesday showed Peavy’s rib has been properly healing.

“I kept my arm basically to my side for the past few weeks,” Peavy said. “We believe the bone is healed enough at this point to start moving around. Hopefully, we can keep moving forward slowly but surely.”

Peavy still isn’t exactly sure how he fractured a rib but explained it was a gradual process that didn’t stem from one start. He lasted only 21/3 innings June 4 at Seattle.

“I know that me trying to pitch, I was told, did make it worse than it probably would have been if I backed off,” Peavy said.

Morel filling in: Third baseman Brent Morel, the Sox’s Opening Day starter last year, made his season debut Wednesday against the Mets.

Morel was called up from Triple-A Charlotte before the game after the Sox placed Conor Gillaspie on the paternity list so he could be with his wife Amanda for the birth of their first child. Gillaspie can remain on the paternity list for one to three days. Morel started at third and batted seventh for the Sox.

“To go and try to make the team out of spring training, not making the team was kind of disappointing,” Morel said. “But to go down there and play well and be back here now it’s really encouraging.”

Morel is hitting .280 with 19 doubles, five home runs, 40 RBIs and a .373 on-base percentage in 66 games with Charlotte this season. More importantly, Morel, 26, said back issues that lingered last season and during spring training haven’t been bothering him.

“I’ve been playing every day with no problems,” Morel said. “I just do little stretches here and there. But there’s nothing I do to take care of it. I don’t think about it too much anymore.”

Manager Robin Ventura doesn’t expect Morel to stay with the team once Gillaspie returns, although he noted that anything could happen.

“For us, if we’re missing that combination of guy, [Morel] is the guy you call on,” Ventura said. “It’s a credit to him to work at it and be at the top of the list in case something came up.”

Konerko still sidelined: First baseman Paul Konerko was not in the lineup Wednesday against the Mets, sitting out a second straight game because of a back problem.

Ventura said Konerko felt better and potentially was available to pinch hit, but resting him against the Mets combined with Thursday’s off day is believed to be enough to cure his back ailment. In 66 games this season, Konerko is batting .253 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs.

“You can tell with the work he puts in and everything he does that he enjoys it,” Ventura said of Konerko. “But everybody goes through this. If you’re fortunate to get to that point where he’s at, then some days aren’t as easy as others.”

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