Buehrle skipping start to ease workload
Lefty to follow Friday's debut with outing on March 15
PHOENIX -- Mark Buehrle yielded one unearned run over two innings during Friday's 8-3 loss to the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch, throwing 23 of his 37 pitches for strikes.
With two strikeouts, one walk and three hits allowed, it was pretty much a regulation start for the left-hander. And for his follow-up Cactus League move, Buehrle will have his next start skipped on Wednesday and probably will not take the mound again until a night game against Kansas City on March 15 at Camelback Ranch.
Before talk of injury or shoulder soreness in regard to Buehrle begins to creep up, the left-hander explained this move is part of the plan to control his Spring Training workload. It was put into place last March for the durable hurler who has worked at least 200 innings and made at least 30 starts in each of his nine seasons as part of the White Sox rotation.
"That's why I went down to the 'pen [Friday] and threw 15 more pitches," said Buehrle, who couldn't work any deeper in the game because the White Sox already had their alignment set for the remaining six relievers against the Dodgers. "I threw 35 or something in the game so I got up to 50 pitches.
"I'll skip the next start and come back out 10 days from now and try to go three or four innings. I guess on [Wednesday] I'll throw a pretty good bullpen or play long toss in between. Just change it up in between."
Buehrle admitted to asking pitching coach Don Cooper why he didn't just skip this first start and then work every five days after that, starting on Wednesday. But by the time that possibility was talked about, the White Sox needed Buehrle to throw Friday.
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"They are just watching my innings," Buehrle said. "I need more time for location and I'm thankful this is our first game.
"Some of their hits and balls they were putting in play weren't struck very well and they should have been ... I wasn't hitting my location as well. It's my first one, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but physically I feel good."
Location issues at this early stage don't stand as any sort of worry for the veteran approaching 10 years of service time. His focus, as always, is to build up his arm strength to pitch six or seven innings and be ready for his franchise-record eighth Opening Day start on April 5 at home against the Indians.
That preparation for Buehrle will come away from the actual games for the next 10 days. It's a brief respite certain to draw a few sarcastic comments from his fellow members of the White Sox pitching staff.
"I will take my annual week off and go home for a couple of days," said a smiling Buehrle, who missed time last Spring Training to return to Missouri for the birth of his daughter. "I always get 'When are you going to go home for four or five days and then come back?' They always have fun with it, and I'm sure they will do that again."
"A good thing about Buehrle is he feels very well," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Every Spring Training, he comes with some sort of fatigue. But this year, we don't have any complaints about it. To me, Buehrle will be Buehrle."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.