Buehrle adjusting to new pace-of-play rules

Veteran lefty's time between pitches ranks among lowest in Majors

Buehrle adjusting to new pace-of-play rules

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Major League Baseball definitely didn't have Mark Buehrle in mind this spring when it installed clocks in the ballparks and instructed hitters to keep one foot in the batter's box to speed up the "pace of play."

Buehrle made his second start of the spring Thursday afternoon in the Blue Jays' 10-3 loss, breezing through the first 3 1/3 innings, limiting the Tampa Bay Rays to a pair of singles -- and again he found himself "beating the clock."

"I usually throw eight warmup pitches," Buehrle explained. "When I'd get done, I'd turn around and look at the clock, and there was still 30 seconds left. So I'd throw a few more pitches. I need to figure that out."

Following the third out of each half-inning, a pitcher has 2:25 before he must begin the next half-inning.

Buehrle's time between pitches, an average of 16.8 seconds, annually ranks among the lowest in the Major Leagues.

Nevertheless, Buehrle says he fears that forcing batters to stand in the box, waiting for his next pitch, may work against him.

"A lot of guys step out, and they think it messes me up by taking more time," explained Buehrle. "It's actually the opposite way. If you stand in there, that messes me up more than calling time and stepping out. That does not bug me at all.

"Whenever a guy's staying in the batter's box, they try to speed me up and work faster. So then I try to work faster than I usually do, and that's when I get out of my game because I'm trying to rush too much, and then I'm not making quality pitches.

"If a guy just takes a pitch and stands there and looks at me and he's ready to go, I try to speed up and go even faster. Then I get in trouble."

The Blue Jays veteran left-hander said he prefers to control the pace of play himself.

"I'd rather [the catcher] just give me the sign, and I'll slow it down. I don't like sitting there waiting on the catcher thinking or looking over at the bench for signs. I'd rather he keep it going fast, and then if I need to slow it down, I can."

Buehrle said he is still adjusting to the new between-innings clock.

"My plan is to not change anything and just go out and throw my eight warmup pitches, same as always," Buehrle said. "It's kind of hard because I've always had the habit where as soon as the third out is made, just run out there and get ready. It's going to be hard to change that up."

Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.