BRADENTON, Fla. – Mark Buehrle was happy with his mound performance. And his time in the dugout, too.
Buehrle allowed one run and four hits in 3 2-3 innings during the Toronto Blue Jays’ 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
“It was good to go out four times,” he said. “It’s all about building up. You can throw 50 pitches and get tired. But when you throw, sit down for a few minutes, then get up and do it again, it builds arm strength.”
Toronto acquired the 33-year-old left-hander from Miami in November. He figures to be a workhorse in the Blue Jays’ rotation.
“You look at his career, and you can pretty much pencil in double-digit wins and over 200 innings,” manager John Gibbons said. “He provides stability. You know he’s going to give you a good effort, he’s going to keep you in the game. He’s durable. It’s hard to find guys like that.”
Buehrle works fast, has won four straight Gold Gloves and knows how to hold runners in check. Gibbons hopes some of the Blue Jays’ younger pitchers take cues from Buehrle.
“Buehrle’s one of those guys who, when he talks, they listen,” Gibbons said. “At least, if they’re smart they’ll listen.”
In the first inning, leadoff batter Anthony Gose tumbled backward when Pirates starter James McDonald buzzed him with an inside fastball. But Gose wound up drawing a walk and scored the first run on a throwing error by third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Gose, considered a top prospect, played in 56 games last season and hit .223 with 15 stolen bases.
“You really can’t stop him once he gets on the bases,” Gibbons said. “Offensively, he’s really coming around. That’s what everybody’s said, once he gets that going he’s got a chance to be a great player. He’s starting to do it. He’s having a tremendous spring.”
Gibbons said Gose, who is batting .344 this spring training, has a bit of sneaky pop in his bat.
“He’s got a chance to drive the ball,” Gibbons said. “He’ll hit a few home runs, drive the gaps and hit a lot of triples. He’s not your typical speed guy who just slaps singles around. You’ll have to honor his power down the road, too.”
McDonald was scheduled to pitch five innings, but was efficient enough to get into the sixth. He gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in 5 1-3 innings and struck out five.
“Quick outs are always big,” McDonald said. “In the first inning, I made good pitches. A ground ball here or there, it could’ve gone either way. I had purpose and pitched inside well.”
McDonald struck out three of his final five batters, a time when he started mixing in more breaking balls.
“Early in the game, I was working my fastball,” McDonald said. “Toward the end, when my fastball location got a little more crisp, I started getting ahead of guys. That always makes it easier.”
Pittsburgh tied the score in the ninth against Tyson Brummett on Felix Pie’s leadoff homer and Josh Harrison’s two-out, RBI double. Carlos Paulino hit a game-ending single in the 10th off Tommy Hottovy, who had hit Jordy Mercer and Pie with pitches.
The Pirates reassigned RHPs Jameson Taillon and Erik Cordier, INFs Matt Hague and Anderson Hernandez and OF Darren Ford to their minor league camp. INF Clint Robinson, OF Jerry Sands and RHPs Vic Black, Hunter Strickland, Duke Welker and Stolmy Pimentel were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. … Pirates RHP Jeff Karstens (biceps tightness) threw two innings in a minor league exhibition. He’s scheduled to pitch again Monday. … The Blue Jays unconditionally released 1B David Cooper.