Working two of the most important innings he's ever pitched, Peavy passed a significant test here in his first time back on a major-league mound since tearing his latissimus dorsi muscle completely from the bone under his right shoulder last July 6.
"I'm relieved, pleased," Peavy said after the two-inning outing against the Angels. "It was a good day, a big step in the right direction. To get in a game, I did what I expected, what I hoped I'd do. I was able to turn it up a level.
"I did what I was hoping to do. I got big league hitters out and felt normal doing it."
Peavy faced the minimum of six hitters over the two innings. He threw his fastball, cut fastball and breaking ball, but no change-ups. With his fastball, he pitched in the 90-91 m.p.h. range, with a couple at 92.
Before the injury, his fastball averaged between 92-94 m.p.h.
"I think maybe he's got tiger blood," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen quipped. "Not Tiger Woods. Tiger blood."
Peavy reached back a couple of times, one of which was on the 92 m.p.h. fastball that struck out Vernon Wells to start the second inning.
"I wasn't airing it out," he said, noting that he's "slowly tried to climb" to higher levels this spring and that "by the end of spring training, there will be some grunts in there and we'll see what's in the tank before the regular season starts."
Peavy threw 16 strikes and 10 balls in his 26 pitches. He obtained only three swings-and-misses, but, as he noted, he wasn't airing it out, either.
Meantime, on the other side of the field, the Angels were suitably impressed. Manager Mike Scioscia, acknowledging how far back Peavy has come, said he thought Peavy threw "great."
"We were looking forward to today, and he passed everything," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "We weren't going to grade him on velocity or even on location. What we were going to grade him on today was, 'How do you feel before, and after?'"
To that degree, Peavy came through his Cactus League debut so clean that the Sox intend to put him on a normal rotation. Assuming he feels OK when he wakes up Saturday morning -- the day after an outing always being a big test -- he'll next start Wednesday, with the goal of him working three innings.
Peavy's biggest test Friday was to keep a lid on his adrenalin and not over-throw to the first big league hitters he's faced in game-conditions in eight months.
The mental hurdles he's facing in battling back from an unprecedented injury?
"Today was one of those," he said. "It was big to get out on the mound and make big league hitters swing and miss and throw fastballs around 90.
"The last time I threw a fastball, to Mike Napoli [last July 6], it wasn't pretty."
Peavy is the only known pitcher to completely tear the lat muscle from the bone. He told me in this column from last month that doctors said Kerry Wood and Tom Gordon each suffered tears in the lat muscle, but those were only 30 or 40 percent tears.
Initially, Peavy was projected for a June return this year. But his rehabilitation has gone so well, and he's so far ahead of schedule, that he believes he can be in the opening day rotation. Guillen is beginning to think that way, too -- even though the Sox still intend to be very cautious.
"In our mind, he's in as the fifth starter," Guillen said. "And we've got a Plan B."
But if Peavy is healthy enough to open as the fifth starter, and even work five or six innings his first few times out, it would be one more significant boost to a White Sox team that believes it has the ammunition to win the AL Central this summer.