Buehrle among Blue Jays to get work in intrasquad game

Buehrle among Blue Jays to get work in intrasquad game

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays put the finishing touches on their preparation for the Grapefruit League season by holding an intrasquad game on Monday morning.

Team Gray defeated Team Blue, 1-0, in a matchup that featured a solo home run by prospect Mitch Nay. Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson barely missed a home run of his own with a shot off left-hander Mark Buehrle that easily cleared the fence but went foul by a foot or two.

"I don't need them to be fair right now," Donaldson said. "The season, that's when I need to save them. But it was nice to get out there and face some live pitching. It's just the first step of the process.

"Getting comfortable in the box again with a ball coming at you, it's hard to simulate that in the offseason, especially once things get into a game scenario because there are a lot of things going on, the game within the game."

Pitchers often are a step or two ahead of the hitters at this point in camp, and that was rather apparent Monday morning. R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison, Aaron Loup, Chad Jenkins, Brett Cecil and Buehrle were a few of the pitchers that were able to toss a scoreless inning without too much difficulty.

Kevin Pillar contributed a line drive single to left off Cecil while Ezequiel Carrera hit a sharp grounder off the glove of a diving Donaldson at third base. The ball ricocheted into center field and Carrera was able to stretch it into a double. Both players are competing for a spot on the roster as Michael Saunders' replacement in left or as the fourth outfielder.

The intrasquad game, though, was more about easing the pitchers into their workload. In typical Buehrle fashion, the veteran left-hander wasn't working on anything in particular and used his inning to touch on a little bit of everything.

"You can't hold fake runners or imaginary runners when you're on the back fields -- PFPs [pitchers' fielding practice] get old -- so facing hitters, game-speed, anything can happen -- guys get on, they steal, bunt plays, everything is in play," Buehrle said. "It's good to get that going."

The radar gun wasn't turned on for the intrasquad game, which prompted one reporter to ask Buehrle how hard his fastball was during the game.

"Did you see the gun? Probably 90," Buehrle said with a grin. "Obviously, that's the least of my worries. I felt good, may have broken 80 mph, I'm not sure, but made some good pitches and it's getting into live action. Other than that, no biggie."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.