Mark Buehrle: Retirement still option

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark Buehrle doesn't figure to work his way into the Cy Young Award conversation, but whoever wins the hardware would envy the run the veteran left-hander has been on this season.

In what could be his last season in a Chicago White Sox uniform, Buehrle has made this year one of his best. By giving up three runs (none earned) against the Minnesota Twins on Friday, Buehrle now has 17 consecutive starts with three runs or fewer allowed.

Nobody in a White Sox uniform has done that since Dave Lemonds in 1972.

And as crazy as it sounds, though, Buehrle said he could still retire at the end of this season. But could a 32-year-old who is having one of the best seasons in his career really walk away?

"Obviously when you're pitching good I don't want to say it's tough to walk away, but I don't know," Buehrle said. "To be honest with you I haven't thought about it. I'll just go into this offseason and see what happens."

After all these years, Buehrle is only now adding a new out pitch to his arsenal.

"My curveball has been working probably better this year than it has in my whole career," said Buehrle, whose record improved to 9-5 while his ERA fell to 3.04. "It's harder and it seems like this year it's breaking more than it ever has. I don't know why. He's asking for it and I'm making good pitches. Everything is just working right now."

Buehrle said that for nearly all of his career, that curveball was in the 70 mph range. Now it's in the middle 70s, with a hard bite and good location.

It worked well enough Friday to give him his 26th career victory against the Twins, his most against any opponent.

"It just means staying healthy, being around a while and facing teams in your division four or five times a season," Buehrle said. "I haven't had too much success on the road against these guys and I was lucky to get a win."

Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.