Sacramento River Cats

Jake Peavy looks ‘free and easy’ in rehab start with River Cats

Jake Peavy’s second rehab start with the River Cats went markedly better than his first.

The Giants’ right-hander threw 4 1/3 innings on Saturday night at Raley Field, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out five batters. Both runs scored on a home run by the Tacoma Rainiers’ Franklin Gutierrez in the fourth inning. Peavy threw 69 pitches in the outing, 44 of them strikes.

In Peavy’s first rehab start with the River Cats on May 27, he allowed six runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. He also came away with some lingering back tightness, which led the Giants to wait 10 days before sending Peavy back to the mound.

Saturday, River Cats manager Bob Mariano and pitching coach Dwight Bernard said Peavy looked “freer and easier” with his delivery. Peavy, who was not available to reporters after the River Cats’ 4-2 win, is recovering from lower back and hip issues that have limited him to two starts for the Giants this season.

“I thought his arm speed was good and he just looked more free and easy out there on the mound,” Mariano said. “I thought he had better command with his pitches, and I thought his velocity was a little bit better, too.”

Peavy’s fastball registered 88-89 mph in the first inning, when he allowed a one-out single but got Jesus Montero to line into an inning-ending double play. Peavy faced the minimum through three innings while striking out four.

He ran into some trouble in the fourth. After retiring the first two hitters, Peavy allowed a line-drive single to Montero, then the homer to Gutierrez on a 2-1 pitch. Peavy allowed one more sharp single before ending the inning on a flyout.

Peavy walked the leadoff batter in the fifth, then struck out his final hitter before Mariano came out to relieve him one pitch shy of the 70-pitch mark the Giants were targeting.

“When I went out there, he was kind of apologizing for giving up the home run,” said Mariano. “But I said, ‘Hey, you looked good. It looked like you were throwing the ball good, where you wanted to.’ … I think he’s got to feel good about himself.”

Bernard said it seemed Peavy was pleased with the outing.

“The walk bothered him – that’s one of the biggest things,” Bernard said. “I think the count got away from him a little bit right there. … (But) he had a good cutter, located, good changeup. He repeated his delivery much better.”

The Giants have said they will not rush Peavy back to the majors. He is expected to make at least one more start for the River Cats and possibly more, as he has said he wants to get his pitch count back up around 100 in a rehab start before rejoining the Giants.

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