SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Peavy finally has a pitching schedule, and that beats the heck out of a treatment schedule.
"I'm excited that the end is near, hopefully," Peavy said Thursday morning. "I'm going to play baseball, play games and work on my craft."
Peavy will start for the San Jose Giants on Friday and then for the Sacramento River Cats on Wednesday. This is no "get your feet wet" rehab assignment for a pitcher who has thrown just 7 2/3 innings this season because of back and hip tightness. Peavy is cleared to throw up to 50 pitches on Friday.
"I hope I can make that last more than an inning," he joked. "We'll hope for two to five, two to five innings."
Peavy has been on the disabled list since April 18 but he said he hasn't had pain in his back for a few weeks. He spent a week in Arizona getting treatment and throwing, and had no issues when he had to get up and down between innings against minor leaguers. Peavy has been able to focus on getting back to 100 percent because of the fill-in work done by Chris Heston and Ryan Vogelsong, who have replaced Peavy and Matt Cain.
"We're in such good shape as far as depth," Peavy said. "There's no reason for me to push this thing."
Rather, there was no reason. Now that Peavy is ready to get back on a mound, the Giants think he could move quickly. They have pitched well, but Peavy is still the guy who was their best starter down the stretch last season, and they gave him a two-year deal to be in this rotation. Manager Bruce Bochy said Peavy could be cleared after the start in Sacramento. They'll wait and see how he responds physically and how high his pitch count gets.
"It's been a long road for him," Bochy said. "The fact that he's healthy and feeling good, that's got him excited. He's getting strength back and getting back to competing. We'll see where he gets this start and see how he comes out of it. We'd like to get him stretched out. Ideally, sure, we'd like for him to be ready after a couple starts."
--- Cain threw breaking balls on flat ground today. It's the first time he has done that since going on the DL with a flexor strain, and all appeared to go well. It wasn't a long session, but Cain was letting it go a bit. The next step is to throw all his pitches off a bullpen mound.
--- Joaquin Arias has 11 hits in his last 19 at-bats against Clayton Kershaw, which is part of the reason he's in there today. The other part: Even though Brandon Crawford crushes lefties, he is 1 for 18 against Kershaw and Bochy wants to give Crawford more rest than he did a year ago. This is the perfect day. Bochy said he thought often over the offseason about how he might have worn Crawford down in the second half last year. "We'll give him a few more breathers," Bochy said. "It's going to benefit him."
As for Arias, Bochy joked that the infielder might just wait around and prepare for Kershaw games. This is just his fifth start of the season and three have come against Kershaw.
"He's probably wondering, geez ... he doesn't get to start until Kershaw?" Bochy said. "He'd probably like an easier matchup, but he just stays ready and waits for Kershaw to pitch."