Miami Marlins starting pitcher Mark Buehrle throws to the plate during the fifth inning of their baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Mark Buehrle throws to the plate during the fifth inning of their baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers

New pitchers looking forward to joining the Jays

TORONTO — While it took a few days for the news to sink in, newly acquired left-hander Mark Buehrle said he’s looking forward to the next stage of his career as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

TORONTO — While it took a few days for the news to sink in, newly acquired left-hander Mark Buehrle said he’s looking forward to the next stage of his career as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Buehrle, fellow starting pitcher Josh Johnson and all-star shortstop Jose Reyes were acquired by Toronto in a blockbuster trade with Miami earlier this month. General manager Alex Anthopoulos dramatically reshaped the roster with the 12-player deal along with the free-agent signings of outfielder Melky Cabrera and infielder Maicer Izturis.

Buehrle, who signed a US$58-million, four-year contract with the Marlins a year earlier, said he was not expecting to be dealt.

“I think it was just a shock and I think the next day or two was just a whirlwind,” Buehrle said Thursday on a conference call. “I was just trying to just figure stuff out. Obviously having to do a move again and everything that’s involved in switching teams. I think it was just craziness going on for a couple days.”

The 33-year-old left-hander spent his first 12 big-league seasons with the Chicago White Sox before signing with Miami. He said the trade to Toronto has sunk in now and he has embraced the change with “open arms.”

Buehrle said he’s working with his wife — also an avid dog lover — on exploring options regarding his two-year-old pit bull, a rescue dog named Slater. Ontario has had a pit bull ban in place since 2005.

“I was joking around with my wife saying that they probably shouldn’t let me in the country before they don’t let my dog (in), because my dog is so loving and so awesome,” he said.

“So we’re working with some people that we know that do a lot of stuff with pit bulls and people up there in Canada. We’re trying to work and do what we can do to try to get things resolved, but as of right now I don’t know exactly what we’re doing.”

The Blue Jays’ recent moves generated tremendous buzz in playoff-starved Toronto and signalled the team is ready to hang with the big boys in the tough American League East division. Anthopoulos also brought back former manager John Gibbons to succeed the departed John Farrell as skipper.

Johnson said he too was shocked to hear about the deal but is “extremely excited” to be joining the Blue Jays. He said that he was chatting about the lineup Wednesday night while out at a basketball game.

“I was just like, ‘Wow, it’s even better than when the trade first went through,”’ Johnson said.

The former Marlins join a Toronto team that already has a solid nucleus in place with players like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia.

Buehrle said while the teams in the AL East are always challenging, he’s impressed with the club’s direction.

“You look at the team right now, you’ve got to like your chances of getting to the playoffs,” he said.

Buehrle and Johnson should provide a significant upgrade to Toronto’s starting rotation, which has been anchored by Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero. Buehrle exceeded 200 innings for the 12th consecutive season this past year and went 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA.

He said he’s always enjoyed his previous visits to Toronto, calling it one of his favourite baseball cities.

The Blue Jays also acquired catcher John Buck and infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and received cash in the Miami trade.

In return, the Marlins got infielders Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino, catcher Jeff Mathis and outfielder Jake Marisnick.

Toronto’s payroll increased significantly with the deal. Buehrle has $52 million remaining on his deal, Johnson is owed $13.75 million in 2013 and Reyes has $96 million left on a contract that expires in 2018.

A six-foot-seven right-hander, Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010.

He was limited to nine starts in 2011 because of right shoulder inflammation.

The 28-year-old Johnson was 8-14 last season with a 3.81 ERA in 31 starts. The two-time all-star recorded 165 strikeouts with 65 walks in 191 1/3 innings.

“I’d say maybe the last 15 starts, I felt so much better than before,” Johnson said. “I was kind of fighting myself, fighting my body, trying to do this or that, maybe trying to find a little bit more velocity. But once I relaxed and just trusted myself, it just kind of came out.

“I don’t know if I was throwing any harder or anything like that. But you could tell with the depth that I had on my slider and my curve ball, and the location of my fastball got much, much better.”

Johnson also said he talked with Buck — who played for the Blue Jays in 2010 — about what to expect in Toronto.

“Bucky said that it’s an amazing place to play,” Johnson said. “The fans are amazing, the coaching staff, all the way up to the front office. Everybody was amazing while he was there.

“And he said it shouldn’t be any different.”

Johnson said it “would be great” if Anthopoulos were to ask him about a contract extension. But he said his focus now is on preparation for the 2013 season.

“That’s the last thing on my mind is worrying about getting an extension or how long I’m going to be there, it’s more about winning,” he said. “That’s all I’ve been about since I started playing baseball. I’m all about winning, that’s all I want to do. It makes everything better.

“It makes food taste better, it makes your wife happier, it makes your family happier. Everything is better when you’re winning.”

Toronto is coming off a disappointing campaign in 2012. The Blue Jays finished with a 73-89 record, good for a fourth-place finish in AL East.

Notes: The annual winter meetings will be held next week in Nashville. The Dec. 3-6 gathering is set for Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

Just Posted

The Alberta Recyling Management Authority will host a used paint and oil recycling day on May 15. (Photo courtesy of ARMA)
Used oil and paint recycling event set this weekend in Red Deer

Red Deerians will have their first of three chances to recycle used… Continue reading

Shanna Lydiard is upset to have had mail delivery cut off last month to her West Park street because of water main reconstruction. Delivery is to resume by May 19 at the latest, according to the City of Red Deer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Red Deer woman frustrated by mail delivery suspension due to construction

Shanna Lydiard said residents shouldn’t have to drive across the city for their mail

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen received his COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at Jackson’s Pharmacy in Innisfail. (Devin Creeshen Twitter photo)
COVID-19: Most local MLAs have received their first vaccine shot

Alberta’s NDP is encouraging all MLAs to get vaccinated and publicly promote… Continue reading

Alberta continues to wrestle with high COVID-19 case numbers. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer up to 858 active cases of COVID-19

Province reports additional 1,799 cases of the virus

Bo's Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening.
(Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Ottawa Senators centre Josh Norris, right, celebrates his game-winning overtime goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with left wing Brady Tkachuk Wednesday May 12, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Norris scored winner, Senators beat Maple Leafs 4-3 in Andersen’s return from injury

Norris scored winner, Senators beat Maple Leafs 4-3 in Andersen’s return from injury

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the trophy after beating Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, in the final at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, in Montreal on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Tennis Canada could move top tournaments to US if Toronto, Montreal plan not approved

Tennis Canada could move top tournaments to US if Toronto, Montreal plan not approved

Philadelphia Flyers' Travis Sanheim (6) and Brian Elliott (37) celebrate with teammates after the Flyers won an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Puck luck? Hockey’s secrecy makes betting on NHL a gamble

Puck luck? Hockey’s secrecy makes betting on NHL a gamble

FILE - John Davidson, left, president of the New York Rangers, and Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton pose at a news conference in New York, in this Wednesday, May 22, 2019, file photo. The New York Rangers abruptly fired president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 with three games left in the season. Chris Drury was named president and GM. He previously served as associate GM under Davidson and Gorton. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
New York Rangers fire coach Dave Quinn, 3 assistants

New York Rangers fire coach Dave Quinn, 3 assistants

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, returns a shot from Ilya Ivashka, of Belarus, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Wilfredo Lee
Canadian Denis Shapovalov books meeting with Nadal in third round of Italian Open

Canadian Denis Shapovalov books meeting with Nadal in third round of Italian Open

United States goalie Alex Cavallini (33) deflects Canada's Marie Philip Poulin (29) shot during the first period in the women's 3-on-3 game, part of the NHL hockey All-Star weekend, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in St. Louis. Hockey Canada's roster of players invited to try out for the 2022 Olympic women's hockey team indicates the squad will be experienced up front and less so on the back end. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Roberson
Hockey Canada announces players invited to try out for women’s Olympic team

Hockey Canada announces players invited to try out for women’s Olympic team

Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Hernández 2 HRs as Ryu, Blue Jays improve to 5-0 vs Braves

Hernández 2 HRs as Ryu, Blue Jays improve to 5-0 vs Braves

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save as Maple Leafs defenceman TJ Brodie (78) and Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (73) look for the rebound during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, May 8, 2021. The Leafs and the Canadiens will meet in the playoffs for the first time in 42 years when the 2020-21 NHL post-season gets underway.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Leafs, Habs will face off in long-awaited playoff rematch, Oilers will face Jets

Leafs, Habs will face off in long-awaited playoff rematch, Oilers will face Jets

Most Read