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Buehrle upset with walks in Thursday outing

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mark Buehrle is known for his control within the strike zone, but he was uncharacteristically wild Thursday afternoon against Baltimore.

Buehrle surrendered one run on two hits while walking three over two innings of work. The veteran lefty said he felt great overall, but the walks are one thing to which he has always been averse.

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"I hate walking guys," said Buehrle, who issued just 40 free passes in 202 1/3 innings last season. "I know I get myself in trouble, but if it's 3-1, 3-0, I'd rather throw a couple of strikes to get the guy to put the ball in play.

"But sometimes a walk is needed, if a guy hits a home run obviously a walk would have been better because he's still on base. But I've always hated walking guys; it just bugs the [heck] out of me."

One of Buehrle's issues Thursday afternoon was with the mound at Ed Smith Stadium. Buehrle felt fine warming up but said there was a large discrepancy between the mound in the bullpen and the mound on the field.

"I'm not usually that wild, and everything was up in the first inning," Buehrle said. "I'm not making excuses, but you have to adjust, but it seems like the one down in the bullpen was super high, and that one was super low, so it was throwing me off.

"But I have to make the adjustment. I'd rather give up 10 hits and no walks than five hits and five walks. I absolutely hate walking guys, so that's the frustrating part, but I felt great."

Buehrle was making his third start of the spring and has now allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings. That should not be overly alarming, as Buehrle said his numbers in the spring are usually poor, as evidenced by his 4.42 ERA since 2006 compared with a 3.82 mark for his regular-season career.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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