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Peavy enjoys National League style of play

CHICAGO -- Jake Peavy has pitched parts of five seasons with the White Sox, and when fully healthy in 2012, was one of the more dominant starters in the American League.

The right-handed hurler chose to stay with the White Sox and continue working in the AL through a two-year, $29-million extension agreed upon during the offseason. But it doesn't mean that Peavy doesn't still hold a great appreciation for the National League style of baseball, which Peavy played for parts of eight years in San Diego.

"I love the National League game," said Peavy, who gets the start Tuesday night when the White Sox travel to Washington to take on the Nationals in an Interleague series. "I love the pitcher being an integral part of the game.

"You're being an athlete and having a chance to impact the game. If you practice being better than the other guy, it's one advantage you have over the other starting pitcher. That's a big reason I felt I had one more advantage. In the National League, I took pride in putting the ball in play, getting my bunts down and being able to run bases."

Peavy, Gavin Floyd and Dylan Axelrod all get a chance to hit this week in the three-game series. Peavy has a .177 career batting average with two homers and 27 RBIs, but his defense, another of those disciplines to improve overall contributions on the mound, was honored prior to Sunday's series finale when Peavy received the 2012 Gold Glove shared with Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson.

With four-time Gold Glove winner Mark Buehrle returning to the AL as part of the Blue Jays, Peavy joked that his reign might be coming to an end quickly.

"When you get to the age I've gotten to, you try to be as well rounded of a player as you can possibly be," Peavy said. "Fielding your position, getting off the mound and holding baserunners is something I take a lot of pride in.

"It's something we all take pride in. To be recognized by opposing managers for holding baserunners and fielding your position, it means so much."

Strategy obviously differs between the two leagues, with double-switches being more prevalent in the NL, not to mention a greater role for bench players. Manager Robin Ventura and Peavy spoke about their hope that a designated hitter is not added to NL lineups, keeping that difference intact.

"Don't get me wrong by any means: I love the American League, and I couldn't be more happy being where I'm at. I just prefer the National League," Peavy said. "Being able to hit and run the bases and, like I said, you feel like a kid, like an athlete, more part of the game and at the end of the day it's one more way to try and separate yourself from the other guy to have a chance at winning that game. What pitcher wouldn't like facing the opposing pitcher. It's just fun."

"There's room for both," Ventura said. "Again, the DH has kept a lot of players that couldn't play defense that are good hitters still, they get to extend their careers."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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