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.
"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.
Rasmus still absent in Thursday's defeat
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Colby Rasmus' return to the Blue Jays lineup has been delayed yet again.
Rasmus was expected to start Thursday against Baltimore but has now been pushed back until at least Saturday. It's the second time in the past week that Rasmus was supposed to play only to have his return date moved back.
Manager John Gibbons said there was nothing to read into regarding Thursday's lineup change and that it had more to do with Toronto's Spring Training schedule than anything else.
"Instead of rushing something to get two-at-bats after a drive all the way to Orlando tomorrow," Gibbons said before Thursday's game, "We'll give him two full games on the weekend."
Rasmus has not played since Feb. 27 because of a sore right shoulder. He recently resumed full workouts and should still have plenty of time to round into form prior to the start of the regular season.
Injured Blue Jays pitchers making progress
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Right-hander Chad Jenkins is nearing his return to the mound following a prolonged absence because of a sore right shoulder.
Jenkins hasn't pitched since Feb. 24 against the Orioles, but he played catch Thursday morning and could be in line for a bullpen session Friday.
The 25-year-old is expected to start the season at Triple-A Buffalo but could become a valuable depth option if anything happens to Toronto's starting five.
"Definitely felt good the last two days and today looked good playing catch, stretching it out at probably 150 feet," pitching coach Pete Walker said Thursday morning. "Tomorrow we'll get him off the mound, and if he recovers well the next day, progress him and get him moving."
Walker also provided updates on Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos, who are expected to play a pivotal role at the back end of Toronto's bullpen this season.
Janssen, who has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game, felt fine after throwing his second bullpen session of the spring Wednesday. The 31-year-old is set to throw another bullpen Saturday and could advance to pitching against live hitters relatively soon.
Santos was expected to pitch Saturday against Detroit but has now been pushed back until Tuesday. He had a recent MRI because of a sore right triceps muscle, but the results did not reveal any structural damage.
"I think it was just to kind of make sure everything was fine," Walker said. "Everything checked out good. We're just giving him one more day. He wanted to play catch today; he was disappointed he couldn't play catch today. He said he felt great; we'll let him play catch tomorrow and go from there."
Right-hander Dustin McGowan also received clearance to continue his rehab after feeling no ill effects from Tuesday's bullpen session.
"He has felt good, felt good again today playing catch," Walker said. "In his words, he felt great. I'm very encouraged with that, and we'll take it day by day.
"He was beaming again. He is playing catch, letting it go a little bit, feeling good. I think we're all pretty encouraged about that."