Despite rough stretch, Buehrle feeling good

Blue Jays may spell veteran lefty with Stroman

Despite rough stretch, Buehrle feeling good

BOSTON -- Although Monday's pitching line might not have shown it, Blue Jays veteran Mark Buehrle took some positive elements away from his performance in an 11-4 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Manager John Gibbons pulled Buehrle after only throwing 56 pitches, and the left-hander was charged with five runs and nine hits over 3 1/3 innings -- his shortest outing of the season. However, Buehrle maintains that he felt much improved physically and command-wise, which is an encouraging sign after Toronto twice pushed his start back.

"I felt pretty good. I felt like I made some pitches," Buehrle said. "The results weren't there, but I don't feel as bad about today as I have in the previous few starts. It's one of those days again, I made some pitches at times and they were putting the ball in play."

The 36-year-old Buehrle has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past 14 seasons, and he's worked four complete games through 174 1/3 innings in 2015. Even more impressively, he has never gone on the disabled list in his 16-year career.

Buehrle owns a 6.89 ERA over his past four starts -- struggles he previously attributed in part to the grind of a long season.

"It's pretty much September, is what it was," he said.

So even with Buehrle's resiliency and his insistence that he felt better during Monday, the Blue Jays have understandably treated Buehrle with caution as they begin turning their eyes toward the postseason.

"I have some concerns," Gibbons said. "We'll see. He's one of our five. Just the minute you think something's up, he responds. He always has, and hopefully he can do that again."

With right-hander Marcus Stroman set to rejoin the Blue Jays this week following his rehab from a torn ACL, the possibility of Stroman spelling Buehrle in the rotation for a turn or two has arisen. Gibbons said the team plans on discussing the 24-year-old's role with general manager Alex Anthopolous in the coming days.

As for Buehrle, he is content signing off on whatever plan the Jays have for him.

"I felt better today than I have in the last couple," Buehrle said. "I'll go out there, make some pitches in the next couple starts. Whenever that next start is, if it's on Saturday, if it's on Tuesday, if it's two weeks from today. I don't know when that'll be, but when I make my next start, I'm going to go out and give it my all."

Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.