Buehrle pushed back to provide extra rest

Blue Jays give veteran lefty a second additional day off; Estrada to start Sunday

Buehrle pushed back to provide extra rest

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are keeping a close eye on left-hander Mark Buehrle's workload, and as a result, the club has decided to push his next start back yet another day.

Buehrle is now scheduled to take the mound on Monday afternoon at Fenway Park. It's the second time this week Toronto moved his start back a day, as he was originally pushed from Saturday to Sunday to provide additional rest.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons informed reporters of his decision Saturday morning and when asked why, he said, "Just a good move." Buehrle isn't hurt and a stint on the disabled list doesn't appear necessary, but he did admit to being worn down after his last start.

"I don't know what it is," Buehrle said after his last start vs. the Tigers on Aug. 30. "I'm searching. I think it's a little bit of everything. It's just that time of year. I don't know if it's dead arm or whatever. I'm going out there trying to give everything I've got."

The decision to move Buehrle's start for the second time this week likely puts an end to any debate about the future of Marcus Stroman. Toronto's hard-throwing righty is scheduled to make his final rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo on Monday.

There had been some previous debate about whether Stroman would return as a reliever or starter, but Toronto could end up needing him in the rotation. If Stroman doesn't take right-hander Drew Hutchison's spot, it's possible he could be used in a way to provide Buehrle with an extended period of rest down the stretch.

Update on Stroman's return

Right-hander Marco Estrada will start on Sunday afternoon against Baltimore. He will be pitching on normal rest because of Thursday's off-day, so fatigue should not be a factor.

Toronto will have a bigger issue if Buehrle isn't able to pitch Monday. The club doesn't have an obvious candidate to fill in, and bringing back Stroman earlier than expected could create concerns about him being rushed back to the big leagues.

Outside of Stroman, the club also could look to use a bullpen that has plenty of depth following a series of callups earlier this month. Veteran left-hander Jeff Francis is the long reliever, while Liam Hendriks, Ryan Tepera, Bo Schultz and Aaron Loup all have the ability to throw multiple innings.

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