After signing free agent slugger Adam Dunn, re-signing Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, the White Sox now have a powerful offense to go along with a potentially dominating pitching staff.

But the key to the team might be the health of starting pitcher Jake Peavy. Peavy missed a good potion of last season due to a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder. And after one of his most intense offseasons ever, Peavy feels like he’s close to being ready to go on opening day. But his teammates know that having a healthy Peavy for the whole season is more important than having him ready for opening day.

“Everything I’ve heard has been very positive,” Pierzynski said. “We need him back. We want him back. But we want him to come back when he’s ready. We don’t want him to rush.”

It’s no secret that Peavy wants to prove that he was worth the hype when the White Sox traded for him. And part of that desire could lead him to pitch through pain if the White Sox aren’t careful about his return.

“One thing about Jake, he’ll pitch,” Pierzynski said. “I mean he wants the ball, he wants to pitch.”

For the White Sox to go from good team to great team this season it might be a smarter decision for them to keep a close eye on Peavy and make sure that he has high quality starts instead of a high quantity of starts.

“If it’s 25 starts, if it’s 30 starts, whatever it is, we’ll use [him] for those,” Pierzynski said. “But we need [him] at [his] best for them.”

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