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updated: 3/11/2013 9:15 PM

Buehrle no longer dogged by Miami drama

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  • Former White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, seen here last week in spring training with the Toronto Blue Jays, escaped the tumultuous Miami Marlins thanks to a 12-player trade.

      Former White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, seen here last week in spring training with the Toronto Blue Jays, escaped the tumultuous Miami Marlins thanks to a 12-player trade.
    Associated Press

 

Mark Buehrle should be a happy camper this spring.

The left-handed starter, who turns 34 on March 23, spent a miserable 2012 with the Miami Marlins after a stellar 12-year run with the White Sox.

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Former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was fired by the dysfunctional Miami franchise just one season into a four-year deal.

And Buehrle, who had three years left on his contract with the Marlins, was part of a 12-player trade between Miami and Toronto in mid-November.

With Buehrle and other key additions like defending National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera, the Blue Jays are already being viewed as strong World Series contenders.

Still, Buehrle is attracting more attention this spring for his post-trade comments and his decision to spend much of the upcoming season away from his family for an unusual reason.

First, this is what Buehrle said after he was sent to Toronto, even though his deal with the Marlins did not include a no-trade clause: "I'm upset with how things turned out in Miami. Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions."

In an interview with ESPN.com this spring, Buehrle tried clarifying his statement.

"I was the unlucky one who actually bought a house (in Miami), thinking I was going to be there and use it as a retirement house," Buehrle said. "But hey, we took the risk. We took the chance of not getting a no-trade clause. I always thought that possibility was there, but I never thought it would happen that quick. The last year of your deal, maybe, if your team hasn't gone anywhere and they're trying to get prospects, OK, I can see that. But the first year? I don't think anybody could have seen that coming."

Second, Buehrle attracted international headlines earlier this year when he decided to spend most of the upcoming season away from his family because pit bulls are banned in Ontario, Canada.

A well-known dog lover, Buehrle's pit bull, Slater, will stay at home with his wife Jamie and children in the United States while the veteran pitcher spends most of his time in Canada.

"I don't want to make this a season-long story," Buehrle told the Toronto Star. "Other families have gone through things and they've made it work. And I will see my dogs when I can. Being a responsible pet owner, you can't drop off the dog on someone else.

"If you try and bring the dog (into Ontario) and think you can (hide it), you're taking a chance, and then (if you get caught) the dog sits in a cage for a month or more or however long until the court date comes up. Sometimes people can't understand why we're doing this and they look at you having kids there, so we decided the family would not (come to Toronto)."

Always a slow starter in spring training with the Sox, Buehrle has continued the trend elsewhere.

In 3 Grapefruit League starts with the Blue Jays, Buehrle has allowed 4 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings.

Easing in:

Kenny Williams has been promoted to president of baseball operations, but it looks like he made a solid trade when he was the White Sox' general manager.

Williams traded injury-prone outfielder Carlos Quentin to the San Diego Padres on Dec. 31, 2011, in exchange for two minor-league pitchers: Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez.

Hernandez was flipped to Minnesota last July in the Francisco Liriano trade, and he's impressed the Twins this spring with 7 scoreless innings of relief in exhibition play.

Castro has been equally impressive for the Sox in the Cactus League, allowing 1 run in 7 innings. Heading into Monday's game against the Rockies, Castro led the White Sox pitcher with 9 strikeouts.

At some point this season look for the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder in the White Sox' bullpen, even though and Castro still projects out as a starting pitcher.

As for Quentin, he was limited to just 86 games with San Diego last season while recovering from knee surgery, and the moody slugger had another knee procedure over the winter.

Quentin is being brought along slowly this spring, and he also reported to camp 15 pounds lighter.

In order to cut weight, Quentin hired a personal chef during the off-season.

"It was interesting," Quentin told MLB.com. "He was at my house for three times a day, six days a week. I got to know him pretty well."

Quentin said he stuck to organic dishes.

"The meals were made to help decrease inflammation in the body, to fight sickness, injuries," Quentin said. "It opened my eyes to a lot of different foods. So much so that when I could go and eat anything different, I would have a hangover, a food hangover, the next day."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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