White Sox pitching coach optimistic about Jake Peavy

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Last month White Sox general manager Ken Williams revealed that he expects Jake Peavy to begin the season on the disabled list following shoulder surgery, but yesterday pitching coach Don Cooper shared a far more optimistic view of Peavy’s status with Scott Merkin of MLB.com.

Cooper, who along with trainer Herm Schneider watched Peavy throw earlier this month, said: “With my eyes, he looked free and easy and was going through what he was doing pretty damn well.”

Cooper also quoted Peavy as saying “I feel normal” about five months after suffering a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder.

“He did a heck of a job to be where he’s at,” Cooper told Merkin. “I really didn’t think he would be right there. I thought it would be slower, but he hopped right into it and has a chance to be ready. Regardless, the next step is to build up strength and break through mental barriers common with this sort of injury. One is to let it go more and more, picking up the intensity of throws, and constantly climbing.”

Chris Sale has been preparing to start in case Peavy isn’t ready to begin the season in the rotation, but Cooper indicated that regardless of Peavy’s status he’d prefer to keep Sale in the bullpen after he thrived there as a rookie.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins

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The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.

With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.

Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.