Mark Buehrle has pitched in 205 games at U.S. Cellular Field/Comiskey Park, but they were all in a White Sox uniform.
Tonight, the 35-year-old lefty will be on the mound at the Cell for the first time in an opposing uniform.
"I'm sure it will be different," said Buehrle, who had a start against the Sox in Toronto once in 2012 and once again last season. "I'm going to try to not make it too different for myself and go out there and treat it as any other game, but I'm sure there's going to be some emotions, just different feelings pitching, getting on the mound here for the first time in a couple of years. I'm just going to try to go out there and get outs."
Buehrle, one of the most popular players in White Sox history, figures to get big applause from the crowd. But the workhorse starter hasn't forgotten what happened when Frank Thomas returned to South Side for the first time, in 2006 with the Oakland A's.
"I remember Frank got cheered," Buehrle said. "He hit two home runs (off Jon Garland) and started getting booed. If I pitch too good I met get booed walking off the mound, I don't know."
Buehrle exited the Sox as a free agent after the 2011 season and pitched for the Marlins under manager Ozzie Guillen before being traded to the Blue Jays. He is 11-8 this season, but just 1-2 with a 7.04 ERA since the all-star break.
"I'm 10 pounds heavier, throw slower, I'm not as agile on the mound as I used to be," Buehrle cracked. "My body hurts."
When he played here, Buehrle was close with two remaining Sox players, John Danks and Paul Konerko. Danks is tonight's mound opponent, and Konerko is likely to be in the starting lineup.
"We've texted back and forth," Buehrle said of Danks. "He's trying to make bets. I told him betting is illegal in baseball. I'll try to have some fun with it. It's weird facing guys you've played with for so long."
That includes Konerko, Buehrle's 2005 World Series champion teammate.
"Obviously what he's done here in Chicago, dealing with the media in good times and bad, I'm thankful because I didn't have to do it," Buehrle said. "He was everything, just like Derek Jeter. Everything he does on and off the field, he does it good. You don't see him in the media doing bad stuff out there, getting in trouble. It's somebody all the young guys can look up to and take some advice from."