FORT MYERS, Fla. — Everything changes for Boston Red Sox starter Jake Peavy the second he steps between the lines.
Peavy, a laid-back player off the field, has approached pitching with a distinct level of intensity and competitiveness throughout his 12-year major league career. The 32-year-old doesn’t plan to change any time soon.
“I do get a little bit emotional, and that’s something I can’t help and at the end of the day I’m not going to apologize for,” Peavy said after Monday’s spring training workout at JetBlue Park. “I am an emotional guy. I believe that’s part of what makes me successful — the drive and the energy. But this team’s got a lot of that, and I just try to do everything on my day to win at the end of the day.”
Peavy’s compete level is unique, and his passion has the potential to rub off on teammates. The right-hander acknowledged at JetBlue Park on Tuesday, however, that there absolutely are times when he must cool his fire to a certain extent.
“I think the biggest thing is just realizing that emotion is part of the game,” Peavy said. “It’s something that at the end of the day you can’t let it affect your ability to execute pitches. … With the experience that I do have, I feel like I’m good at going pitch to pitch and letting it go.”
One instance of Peavy showing excess emotion came during the 2011 season, when he and catcher A.J. Pierzynski exchanged words in the Chicago White Sox dugout. The incident again became a topic of discussion when Pierzynski signed with the Red Sox over the offseason, but Peavy on Tuesday squashed any speculation that there might be lingering animosity between the tandem.
“I think a lot of people made a lot to do about me and A.J. I mean, we did have a blow-up in Chicago — it wasn’t a blow-up, it was just an intense moment on the field — and we talked about it,” Peavy said. “Me and A.J. have a great friendship. We talk, we hang out. … Me and A.J. are close. I’m excited to have A.J. He’s going to be a big part of this year.”
Peavy also figures to be a big part of the Red Sox in 2014, even if there are some emotional outbursts along the way.