Peavy says he is “far ahead” of his own expectations

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It’s still very early, but right-hander Jake Peavy has been making some impressive strides this spring in his ongoing recovery from major lat surgery.

The White Sox starter has already thrown several bullpen sessions and faced live hitters Wednesday for the first time since arriving at camp.

He has felt no abnormal pain or discomfort in his back or shoulder since arriving at Glendale, Arizona’s Camelback Ranch and the White Sox have now penciled him in to start their fifth Cactus League game against the Angels on March 4.

An optimistic but realistic Peavy spoke Thursday with Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com:

“I’m far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point,” Peavy said. “But I can’t push it and I’ve got to be cautious.”

Peavy, 29, posted a cool 4.63 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 93/34 K/BB ratio over 107 innings last season before suffering the season-ending lat injury that eventually required an extensive surgical procedure. A former ace for the Padres, he still boasts a sparkling 3.36 career ERA and 1.19 career WHIP.

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.