If Jake Peavy called the shots, he would rejoin the White Sox on Sunday to pitch in their first-half finale at Philadelphia.

But the Sox know better, so Peavy is destined to make at least one minor league rehabilitation start Sunday for Double-A Birmingham at Huntsville despite receiving rave reviews after a 76-pitch, four-inning simulated game Tuesday at Comerica Park.

"When you're watching him throw, it was pretty free and easy," manager Robin Ventura said after watching Peavy and meeting with general manager Rick Hahn. "That's the good stuff that you like seeing from him. There was no wincing or the extra stretching guys will do when they're coming back.''

Peavy, who hasn't pitched in a game since June 4 following a left rib fracture, could rejoin the Sox after the All-Star break, pending how he feels after his start Sunday for the Barons.

"We took a step in the right direction," said Peavy, who worked out of the stretch most of the time while facing Brent Morel, Casper Wells, Blake Tekotte and the sons of coaches Mark Parent and Jeff Manto. "No pain. The biggest thing was arm strength, trying to work it back. I thought the stuff was a step up from where it was in the bullpen, and that's exciting for me."

Peavy credited the Sox training staff for the increase in his arm strength and stamina, but he has yet to conduct any fielding drills that also could test his rib cage.

"I'm going to hold on to (the hope of rejoining the Sox on Sunday) until I get on that flight," Peavy said. "You know me. But I certainly respect Rick and the front office and the coaching staff. Whatever they think is best, I'm going to have to bow to that. But I certainly feel like I can get major league hitters out. Time will tell. I'm pretty sure."

Tyler Flowers, who caught Peavy, and Morel were impressed.

"Only thing he wasn't pleased with was his slider," Flowers said. "But that's not a crucial pitch for him. A very small number of pitches for his outings are sliders. His curve was very good, which usually is the last one. His cutter was the best I've seen it since I've caught him. His location was very good.''

Said Morel: "He had life on all his pitches. I'm not going to predict anything, but he didn't look too far off."