Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) - The Chicago White Sox announced that pitcher Mark Buehrle is expected to be the club's opening day starter.
The 24-year-old Buehrle, who went 14-14 with a 4.14 ERA in a career-high 35 starts for the White Sox in 2003, agreed to terms on a three year, $18 million contract with Chicago in December.
The team had offered the opening day start to Esteban Loaiza, who finished the season 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA, good enough for second in the AL Cy Young Award voting.
However, Loaiza deferred to Buehrle, who gave up a chance to reach 15 wins for the third straight year with his final start of 2003 so that Loaiza could try to join Fernando Valenzuela as the only Mexican-born pitchers to win 21 games.
The White Sox open the season on April 5 at Kansas City.