Buehrle's durability not lost on White Sox
Lefty's innings-eater reputation is recognized in clubhouse
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The number checks in at 31,130. And very soon, it will grow.No, this total does not represent the amount of days since Chevy Chase last made a humorous movie or the number of days since Halley's Comet last appeared. Instead, this total defines the amount of pitches thrown by Mark Buehrle in the course of his decade-long regular-season career. It's an amount which even momentarily startled Buehrle, whose original guess of 2,000 total pitches was just a bit off the mark. A starting pitcher amasses such a lofty total when he makes at least 30 starts and hurls at least 200 innings in each of his nine seasons as part of the rotation, an accomplishment achieved by the crafty left-hander, despite not having close to the greatest raw stuff in the American League. Of even greater amazement for Buehrle's teammates, though, is how he's never missed any significant time due to injury during this durable run. "He's definitely kind of the model of the durable innings-eater," said White Sox starter John Danks, a protege and friend of Buehrle. "The guy goes out and gives you the chance to win every night and gets deep into the game. You know, he's a guy that us young guys watch and are trying to eventually get to that level." "If you look over the course of a pitcher's career, it seems like every couple of years in or five years in, everybody does go down with something, even if it's not major surgery," Buehrle said. "You have tendinitis or something like that, or you get shut down for two weeks or miss a couple of starts. You look at everyone else and figure eventually you would." So, how has Buehrle managed to consistently stay on the mound, barring a skipped start ordered by the team, either to give him a little extra rest or because the White Sox basically are out of contention? Well, Buehrle has been blessed with good luck. Take a start Buehrle made against Cleveland in Game 3 of the 2007 season, the only time in the last 10 years when Buehrle hasn't pitched on Opening Day. With one out in the second inning, Ryan Garko drove a line drive off the pitching arm of Buehrle for a single.
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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.