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.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.