The White Sox and Mark Buehrle have more in common than their 12-year association that ended after the 2011 season. Both parties are struggling so far in 2013, and Sox slugger Paul Konerko knows his former teammate will pull out all the stops Monday night when he faces the Sox in the first game of a four-game series at the Rogers Centre. "You've got to be ready," Konerko said. "He might throw an eephus pitch or something like that. He's not afraid to screw around out there." At the same time, the Sox know Buehrle's current 10.24 ERA is misleading because they've seen him rebound from poor seasons or subpar starts. Each time Buehrle rebounded, he was rewarded with a lucrative contract — including his current four-year, $58 million contract after he left the Sox for free agency. "A lot of people talk about Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, unbelievably elite pitchers," said Matt Thornton, a Sox teammate of Buehrle from 2006-11. "I think Mark Buehrle, to this day, is one of the better bargains in baseball for what he's done in his career. He's never been one to light up the radar gun or dazzle people with his stuff, but his ability to pitch and his ability to trust his stuff and consistently do the same thing every single year, game in and game out, is absolutely amazing to me. "It's going to be awkward having him out there pitching for Toronto, but more than anything it will be when he comes to our place (June 10-12). It will be totally different." Buehrle's popularity with the Sox runs deeper than his 161 victories, which includes a no-hitter and a perfect game, as well as a save in the Sox's Game 3 World Series win over the Astros in 14 innings. "He was like one of the position players there every day," Konerko said. "He was on the bench and with the guys constantly, pulling for guys. And off the field, constantly setting up dinners and outings with the guys."
White Sox brace to face Buehrle
Chicago Tribune | Apr 15