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MLB notes: Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle to go distance for dog
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dunedin, Fla. • Mark Buehrle won't be experiencing the dog days of summer.

While the pitcher is headed to Toronto, his family will split the season between Broward County in Florida and their home in St. Louis. One of their four dogs, Slater, is a mix of American Staffordshire terrier and bulldog — and bulldogs are banned in the province of Ontario.

"He's an awesome dog," Buehrle said Saturday. "That's what's a shame; just the way he looks is why we have to get separated."

Sent to Toronto as part of the Miami Marlins' payroll purge, Buehrle had a few options. He could have left Slater with friends or placed him in a kennel. The Buehrle family also could have moved to Buffalo or somewhere else on the U.S. side of the border, forcing the pitcher to commute 90 minutes each way to Toronto.

Buehrle's wife, Jamie, 5-year-old Braden and 3-year-old daughter Brooklyn will spend time with the 33-year-old left-hander during spring training, as will Slater and their three vizslas.

"It's something we're going to deal with," Buehrle said. "It's going to be tough at the beginning, not seeing your kids, but people deal with it and we'll make it work."

Buehrle concluded responsible pet owners should not delegate to others the task of caring for a dog. And he said he wouldn't break a law by taking a dog where it is prohibited.

"We've had people say, 'Oh, you can bring them up here. Knowing you have money, no one's going to take your dog because they know you're going to fight against it,' " Buehrle said. "But the thing is, Slater will have to sit in a cage until that court date gets there, and that could be two weeks, it could be three months. If people don't own dogs, they're not going to understand you're leaving your family and your kids behind over a dog."

Buehrle said his family will travel to Toronto for occasional visits.

"It's not like we're not going to see each other," he said. "But we just feel like with all the training and all the stuff that we've done with the dogs, it's better that they stay with my wife."

After going 161-119 in 12 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Buehrle agreed in December 2011 to a $58 million, four-year contract with the Marlins. Buehrle was traded in November along with shortstop Jose Reyes, right-hander Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio to the Blue Jays.

Around the horn

Dodgers • Clayton Kershaw has been selected as Los Angeles' opening-day starter and will become the team's first pitcher to start three straight openers since Derek Lowe from 2005-07. Kershaw will take the mound on April 1 against the World Series champion San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium, manager Don Mattingly announced Saturday.

Reds • Aroldis Chapman, who saved 38 games last season in his first experience as a closer, is getting a chance to win a spot in the rotation this spring, but manager Dusty Baker is keeping an open mind about moving Chapman back to the bullpen in an emergency. The Reds signed closer Jonathan Broxton to a $21 million, three-year deal in November.

Yankees • Ace CC Sabathia threw off a mound Saturday for the first time since having had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow last October. The left-hander threw 29 pitches and said he felt good. Also, closer Mariano Rivera, who had surgery last June 12 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, had his second spring training bullpen session. Both are expected to be ready for opening day.

MLB notes • Family will stay in U.S. while pitcher toils in Toronto.
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