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Buehrle pleased with spring debut vs. Orioles

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Mark Buehrle has been around the Major Leagues for 14 years now, so he knows a thing or two about how to get ready for the season.

The 33-year-old made his spring debut for the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, but wasn't working on any one particular pitch like most of his counterparts.

It was business as usual for the veteran left-hander and the only real goal was building endurance, which will be a gradual process throughout the Grapefruit League season.

"Just pitch count to be honest with you," said Buehrle, who threw 24 of his 35 pitches for strikes against Baltimore. "There may be a few times that Pete [Walker] says, 'Hey, let's work on a few things, let's not throw this, let's just work on a certain pitch,' but the majority of the time, I'm going out there trying to get outs.

"It seems like I never pitch too good in Spring Training, my numbers aren't too good, but I don't care if it's Spring Training or during the season, I try to get outs and I don't like to get hit around even though, obviously, it doesn't matter."

Buehrle cruised through the opening frame and retired the first batter he faced in the second before getting into trouble. Outfielder Lew Ford singled and then Steve Pearce recorded a two-run shot over the wall in left-center field.

The veteran southpaw didn't make it out of the second and was charged with two runs on four hits while striking out one in 1 1/3 innings. Buehrle's biggest concern wasn't with the pitching line, but with the amount of times Orioles batters were able to hit the ball into the air.

Two of his four outs came in the air and there were several hard-hit balls in the outing. But Buehrle's confident improved results will come with time -- it was, after all, the first outing of the spring.

"First outing, good, obviously second inning I didn't locate as well," Buehrle said. "Put the ball in play. I think for me when I'm going well, I'm getting a lot of ground balls. If they find holes, that's part of the game. But fly balls aren't good, when I'm getting fly-ball outs, it means I'm not down in the zone as much as I'd like. But first day, I got pitches in, got some work in, so all in all a good day."

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