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MLB Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays’ Mark Buehrle Looks To Put Dog Ownership Complications Behind

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When the Toronto Blue Jays traded for Mark Buehrle in a package that also included several of his Miami Marlins brethren, the team simply thought they were getting a front-line veteran starter.

There’s that, yes, but what they didn’t necessarily anticipate was how pet ownership laws in Toronto might affect Buehrle’s family situation – especially as it pertains to one of their dogs, Slater, who won’t be allowed to come up north of the border due a province-wide ban on pitbulls in Ontario.

And if Slater can’t come up to Toronto, that means the rest of the family won’t either.

It might sound a little bit of a dramatic response for those who aren’t pet owners, but for the Buehrle family, who owns four dogs, it’s a simple matter of being a responsible dog owner and not leaving a member of the family behind – even if it means that life in Toronto over the summer is going to be a bit lonelier than usual. The veteran says that while “it’s going to be tough in the beginning and not seeing [his] kids,” that the family will “deal with it and [they'll] make it work.”

That could be construed as Buehrle complaining about the situation that he’s in; but, in fact, the righty considers his family “lucky” that “this is [their] first time having to go through this.”

Being separated from family is par for the course of being a professional athlete, but it’s worth pointing out that aside from being a new obstacle for Buehrle to tackle, this is also a situation that will continue over at least the three remaining years of his contract, barring the Blue Jays trading their number-three pitcher away in the future.

Will this affect him on the mound? It’s hard to say at this point, though according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Buehrle is determined to put his family’s decision behind as he prepares for the upcoming season, and would “prefer this does not become a year-long topic of discussion.”

The Blue Jays will be relying on Buehrle’s steady track record as they face the relatively novel expectations of being a playoff-or-bust contender in 2013. He knows that, and acknowledges that the Blue Jays look good “on paper”, and should be a playoff contender with a healthy squad

That said, his enthusiasm for the season is notably muted compared to some others, as the righty also says that he has “come to realize that making expectations or putting stuff where [the team is] going to get to isn’t a good thing”, because of the potential disappointment that it could lead to.

Can you blame him? After the way the Marlins unraveled in short order last year, Buehrle is making a point not to see expectations getting ahead of what the team needs to do to achieve them.

The 13th-year starter will do what he can to make sure his experience last season isn’t repeated in Toronto this season, even if he’ll have to do so without his family by his side.