Buehrle and bro big game hunters

* LHP Mark Buehrle, one of three Toronto Blue Jays representatives at the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, has some competition from his brother, Jason, in the hunting arena. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

By Bob Elliott

MINNEAPOLIS -- The most acclaimed Buehrle hunter, of the St. Charles, Mo. Buehrle clan, was wearing a red American League t-shirt.

He stood 10-to-15 feet in front of Mark Buehrle’s podium, far behind the press.

Jason Buehrle, 37, is the spitting image of his younger, all-star brother, Mark, 35 of the Toronto Blue Jays.

When he was recognized, he was asked who was the better hunter?

“Me,” said Jason quickly.

And so we adjourned to an empty table that didn’t have the name of an all-star hanging on the curtain behind it.

After all, Jason might have more interesting answers than his brother, who enjoys pitching, loves working fast, but hates addressing the media.

Who is the better turkey hunter?

“Me,” said Jason.

Better goose hunter?

“Me,” said Jason.

Better duck hunter?

“Me,” said Jason. “And I’m better at duck calls too with my Duck Commander duck call.”

While Jason says he has the hunting world conquered, caught and played outfield in high school, he didn’t progress as far as little brother: who has won 196 career games, pitched a perfect game, a no hitter, won a World Series, is on his way to his 14th straight year of 200 or more innings and is in his sixth all-star game, the 85th annual which goes Tuesday night at Target Field.

“I love watching him pitch,” said Jason, serious now and full of a brother’s pride. "For years he had trouble getting Ichiro Suzuki out. One game Suzuki got a hit and Mark tipped his cap. The smirks and shrugs he makes, it’s like when we were kids. He had good stretches and bad stretches against Miguel Cabrera, sometimes you’ll see him sneak a peak over with that ‘gosh dang I can’t get him out,’ look.

He says he’s caught Mark and Alexei Ramirez exchanging smiles after a hit and Jason enjoyed watching him slide on the tarp at Comiskey Field during rain delays, “but eventually they told him to cut that out for fear of injury.”

Jason, who was on the field in Houston after the White Sox won the 2005 World Series as brother chased him spraying champagne, used to catch Mark during the winter. The pitcher would always tell the catcher what pitch was coming.

“If he signalled curve, I knew that the ball was coming right at my head and would wind up hitting me in the foot,” said Jason. “This one time I can hear the ball spinning, I managed to catch it but it bent my thumb back.”

Jason says when he plays softball it still stings when he catches the ball near his thumb.

Thanks brother.

Meanwhile, brother was addressing the dandelions of North America journalism:

“I golfed last month with a guy who played college ball with you ....” said a TV reporter from St. Louis in his preamble to his question. “Do you want to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals?”

“No comment, we’ll see how I’m throwing, how the body holds up, I have one more year with Toronto,” said Buehrle.

“Do you think Aaron Sele can move to the next level?” asked a Chicago TV type.

“Is there another level?” replied Buehrle.

“Do you think that this is the year you’ll win 20 games?” asked a Chicago camera man. Yep. A camera man.

“I thought so ... when I was 10-1,” said Buehrle, now 10-6. He had a 2.10 ERA in his first 12 starts and is 0-5 with a 3.60 ERA in his previous seven winless starts.

As for the Blue Jays ...

“I say every spring that the big thing is health with any team, I say that every year,” Buehrle said. “Not too many teams could have the depth to handle the injuries we have had this season. Is the first half a success or a disappointment? Both. We rode the wave for a while then lost some guys, but we’re not 10 games out, we’re four out.

“I haven’t changed a thing this year ... ‘cept maybe I’m throwing slower. Maybe I’ve had some luck and the ball is falling for me.”

Buerhle has been the Jays best starter from his debut in the second game of the season -- 8 2/3 scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays -- to his final start -- two runs in five innings at Tropicana Field.

“It’s like I’ve said before the big thing is health ...”

Ah you’ve said that before ...

“It’s still true,” said Mark, who was later asked who was the better hunter, him or Jason?

“I’ll give him the turkey and the duck hunting -- but that’s all,” said Mark.

Once the American League East is decided there will be another set of bragging rights to be determined in the Buehrle family.