SCOTTSDALE -- It didn’t take long for Jake Peavy to shake off a brutal spring debut.
“It’s all uphill from here,” Peavy said about 10 minutes after giving up his ninth hit.
Peavy gave up six runs on nine hits in 1 2/3 innings, and nearly every batted ball was scorched. The Brewers started the game with a bang: Single, double, single, sac fly, homer. Peavy said he was trying to work on his fastball command. A young Brewers lineup wasn't cooperative, and came up hacking in search of a big number on the scoreboard.
The good news is these games don’t count. The better news it that Peavy feels fine physically a year after making just 19 starts because of back and hip injuries. After back-to-back World Series runs with the Red Sox and Giants, Peavy pitched just 110 innings in 2015. He was at his best late in the year, posting a 1.96 ERA in his final six starts and holding opposing hitters to a .183 average.
Peavy spoke often in September about how he was just getting warmed up, and he’s looking forward to rolling those vibes over into the new year.
“I’m quite a bit stronger all over and feel refreshed,” he said. “The arm strength is going to come. There’s no doubt I think that last year will play as a blessing with me missing the first few months. I felt I was just hitting my stride (when the season ended).”
Manager Bruce Bochy has known Peavy since he first broke into the big leagues, and he knows better than anyone what Peavy needs to work on this spring. The main focus here in Arizona will be staying healthy, and the Giants will back off Peavy’s workload if they have to.
“We’ll rely on Jake and see where he’s at," Bochy said. "I think it’s fair to say that last year he wasn’t quite ready for the start of the season. We’ll get him stretched out.”
As rough as Thursday’s outing was, Peavy at least ended with a positive. His final pitch was a slider that Chris Carter, who had homered in the first, reached for harmlessly. With that final offering, Peavy temporarily went away from his stated goal of working on fastball command.
“I needed to spot my fastball,” he said. “That said, we had already given up nine or so hits.”