If anybody knows what to expect from Toronto starter Mark Buehrle on Friday, it's Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
The two were teammates with the White Sox from 2005 to 2011, and Pierzynski probably caught Buehrle more than he has any other pitcher.
"He has always been one of my all-time favorites," Pierzynski said. "He never shakes you off, he takes the ball every fifth day, works fast and gets after them. What makes him good is his pace, his ability to change speeds and his ability to throw four pitches at any time."
Buehrle also knows Texas. The veteran left-hander is 12-5 with a 3.31 ERA in 18 career starts and three relief appearances in his career against the Rangers. That ERA is the second lowest among active pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched against them, and his .706 winning percentage is the fourth best.
"[Buehrle] keeps the pressure on hitters with the way he works and by pounding the strike zone and not being afraid of contact," Pierzynski said. "He has done it for so long, his velocity may be down, but he knows how to pitch and can do a lot of things with the ball."
Buehrle is making this start on an extra day of rest thanks to a recent off-day. He allowed just one run over seven innings in his previous outing but took a no-decision after Casey Janssen blew a save opportunity in the ninth.
Justin Grimm, who is 0-1 with a 14.73 ERA in his last two starts, will take the mound for the Rangers. He allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday, with all four runs -- three of them on a homer -- coming in the third inning.
"I'm just going to do the same things; it worked last time," Grimm said. "I just made one mistake. I wasn't tired at all. I got to rushing a little bit and got wild. I just had to take a step back. I could have gone more, because my arm felt great."
Grimm threw a season-high 107 pitches in the outing.
"He needs to keep the ball down and execute pitches," manager Ron Washington said. "A definite key for him is to keep his curveball down and use his changeup more, and continue to pitch."
As for Pierzynski, he did not start against Buehrle in Toronto and hasn't faced him since 2003. It's unclear if the catcher, who is 8-for-20 against his old friend, will be in the lineup on Friday.
Blue Jays: Gibbons to coach in Midsummer Classic
Manager John Gibbons was named to the American League coaching staff for the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York on July 16.
"It's a thrill just to get an opportunity in Major League Baseball to go to a game like that," Gibbons said. "Then, to be selected by [Tigers and AL skipper] Jim Leyland, I think the world of him. He's recognized in the baseball world as one of the top ever. His numbers speak for themselves."
• The Blue Jays have signed 16 of their picks from last week's First-Year Player Draft. Twenty-four players remain unsigned.
Rangers: Baker likely to start vs. Buehrle
Expect Jeff Baker in the lineup on Friday. A right-handed hitter, Baker is 17-for-44 with eight home runs against left-handed pitching this season. He has a home run in every 5.50 at-bats against left-handers, which is impressive when you consider the all-time single-season record is held by Mark McGwire, who had a home run in every 5.64 at-bats for Oakland in 1995.
"I'm getting good pitches to hit, and I'm not missing them," Baker said. "I don't look into it, I just go out and play. I don't look at numbers."
• Center fielder Leonys Martin left the Rangers' 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday with a mild left wrist sprain in the eighth inning, an injury sustained while attempting a diving catch.
• Baker, who made his first start at second base for the Rangers on Wednesday, has started at six positions this season, including designated hitter.
• Toronto third baseman Andy LaRoche cleared waivers on Thursday afternoon and has been outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo. He had been designated for assignment on Tuesday.