Sox Drawer: Buehrle's all in... for 2011 and more

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Sox Drawer: Buehrle's all in... for 2011 and more

Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
Posted 5:41 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Mark Buehrle is a man without a filter. A pitcher who says whats on his mind.

I usually have my comments once a year, once every couple years, Buehrle admits. I say something I probably shouldnt have. Sometimes people like it, sometimes people dont.

Michael Vick, for example.

But Friday, Buehrle shared some words that people will like, especially if you live south of Madison Street in Chicago. The White Sox legend is backing off comments hes made the last two years when he frequently hinted about retiring after his contract runs out following this season.

Instead, he has arrived at spring training thinking about playing this year and beyond.

A couple years ago I was really, really seriously considering retiring after this year, and I think the percentage is going down, Buehrle told Comcast SportsNet.

Buehrle acknowledges that there is still a small brain cell in his noggin that yearns to walk away to be with his family for good, but after talking it over with his wife Jamie during the off-season, the plan is for Buehrle to finish out his contract, and then sign another one.

Where?

Hopefully its here, Buehrle said. I dont know what the team has moneywise for the next couple years. Theres a lot of factors. They might have someone else up and coming and they dont even want me back. Im open to whatever. If this is the last year, Im going to go out and have fun like I always do.

"Im not going to put any more pressure on myself during the season. Ill go out there every five days, do the best I can, and whatever happens at the end of the year happens.

After the 2011 season, Buehrle will have made 84 million in his major league career. He has a 15 million vesting option for 2012 that kicks in if hes traded, and few teams will be willing to take on that kind of salary, although the pitching-weak New York Yankees certainly come to mind.

But if Buehrle becomes a free agent, he says he wont play just anywhere.

If the White Sox dont want to sign me back after this year and some team (wants me) that Im not a fan of, or dont want to play for, or its too far from home, Im not going to go play just to make money. Its going to have to be the right spot, the right fit for my family.

The thought of Buehrle wearing something other than a White Sox uniform could send many Sox fans into a panic - or at the very least, a therapists office. But hes already compiled a small list of teams hed play for in his head.

Obviously, St. Louis would be there. Im not going to throw teams out (publicly) because obviously at the end of your career, youre going to want to go to a team that can win. Youre not going to go to a team thats rebuilding. Right now I cant pinpoint how many teams. I know there are teams in my head that I will not go to, no matter how much money or what the situation is.

Considering the rivalry the Sox have with a certain team on the North Side of town, I had to ask if he was referring to the Cubs.

Im not saying any names. Im not throwing any cities, any towns, anything out there, but I have a few teams on my mind that I would go play for and theres a few teams I wouldnt play for.

At this point I mentioned to Mark that if he did actually sign with the Cubs, there would be major concern about the mental well being of many White Sox fans.

I could see that. I dont know if I could get up for that many day games. Im not a morning person. Spring training is about it. I need some sleep.

So rest easy South Siders. Youve got Buehrle for one more season. Maybe two. Maybe more.

And remember that once in a lifetime play he made last Opening Day? Behind the back, through the legs, into the hands of Paul Konerko?

Im going to try to top it this year, Buehrle predicted.

He was kidding.

But Buehrle sticking around? Thats no joke. Hes all in.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's a little nervous now that he has a speech to make, but Mark Buehrle is enjoying life and has no regrets about retiring from baseball.

Addressing the media for the first time since his final game on Oct. 4, 2015, Buehrle said Friday he's right where he wants to be — at home with his family. Buehrle determined 3-4 years ago he would retire after his contract expired to spend more time with his wife and kids. The pitcher, who will have his number 56 retired by the White Sox on June 24, said he didn't announce his decision to step away because he hoped to do so with much fanfare.

"I knew I was done, that I didn't have the drive any more," Buehrle said on a conference call. "I think a big part of it was missing the family, they weren't up in Toronto the whole season and I think that just kind of drained on me. The reason I didn't say anything — I didn't want all the attention. I've always told people I was a young guy that came into the big leagues unknown. Kind of snuck into the big leagues and I wanted to kind of sneak my way out. That's why I haven't said anything, I haven't talked to anybody, I just kind of let it go. Hopefully one day it was just kind of got forgotten and five years down the road, ‘Where's that Buehrle guy? Is he still around?'"

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed 200 innings in 11 straight seasons with the White Sox, has spent the past year-plus on his Missouri farm with his wife, Jamie, and two children, "doing what I've been wanting to do for 20 years," he said. 

While he misses teammates and life in the clubhouse, Buehrle is at peace with his decision to retire after 16 seasons. He discovered when watching games last season that he didn't miss playing as much as he expected.

Buehrle joked that he doesn't want many former teammates to attend the ceremony because it means he'd have to speak in front of a larger audience. He promises to keep his speech brief, similar to the way he pitched. The left-hander even joked that he offered to allow his son to make the speech in his stead.

[RELATED: Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox]

Even though he's one of the most popular players in club history, Buehrle was surprised last month when the White Sox informed him of their plans. He'll be the 12th player to have his number retired by the White Sox.

"I was blown away and floored by it," Buehrle said. "It's obviously a great honor. It's something you don't really intend to happen or you don't play for that reason. You just go out there and play. I had a long, successful career there in Chicago. I just tried to do everything right and that's how I was kind of raised and how I went about it. Jerry (Reinsdorf) is kind enough to come with this offer about retiring my jersey. I really don't know.

"I've been joking around with friends saying my jersey is going to be up there next to Frank Thomas. I grew up watching this guy. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem like it belongs up there next to his.

"I'm going to be up there with all those numbers and it doesn't seem right, like that's where I belong. I just did what I was supposed to do, had fun with it and lived every day like it was my last. Now my number is going to be up there. I haven't really soaked everything in. It just doesn't make sense right now."

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox have lined up their first three starting pitchers of the spring starting with Carson Fulmer on Saturday afternoon.

The team's 2015 first-round draft pick received the nod as the White Sox open their exhibition schedule against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CST. 

Jose Quintana pitches Sunday at home against the Colorado Rockies while Lucas Giolito is set to start at the Cubs on Monday. Fulmer — who went 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA in 11 2/3 innings in 2016 — likened the start to pitching against the Dodgers in a night game last spring in front of a sellout crowd at Camelback Ranch.

"I'm definitely honored," Fulmer said. "It's great. I feel like the coaching staff here stresses that in order to be a good player, you have to put yourself in situations that you are uncomfortable with. I'm not saying I'm uncomfortable with it but it was definitely a unique situation where I can go out there and help us win. So, spring training and the season, our goal is to win and I feel like with the coaching staff putting us young guys in that situation, I think it's going to benefit us."

[RELATED: White Sox not overly concerned about Todd Frazier's injury]

Fulmer is also excited to face his counterpart Saturday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. 

"That's awesome," Fulmer said. "I've been watching him pitch since I was a little kid. I'm definitely pumped to see him out there. It's going to be awesome. 

"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. I mean, he's a pitcher that you look up to and for me, it's going to be awesome. I hopefully can keep the scorecard or something."

The White Sox also announced Friday they have signed 25 players to one-year contracts, including Fulmer. Carlos Rodon's one-year deal for $600,000 is the highest of the bunch.