Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler knows how tough battling back from Tommy John surgery is. Before he stepped onto a mound in any professional capacity, he underwent the infamous procedure that has ended the careers of many pitchers.
Buehler’s recovery was remarkable, bouncing back from the surgery and making his first Major League appearance in 2017.
In 2018, Buehler solidified himself as a trustworthy starter, starting 23 games and holding a 2.62 ERA.
Buehler was riding the high of a Cy Young-worthy 2021 when he injured his elbow again 12 games into the 2022 season. When he had to undergo a second Tommy John surgery, he was sure he could recover, but still nervous about the ramifications.
“I’ve done this rehab, obviously, pretty successfully once before so I think that gives you some confidence,” Buehler said. “But at the same time, it is the second one, so the numbers aren’t quite as clear-cut or in your favor like the first one.”(Via the Los Angeles Times)
Now, Buehler could have a chance to be available sometime this season. In mid-May, Buehler said he was aiming for a Sept. 1 return from the 60-day injured list.
With the 28-year-old throwing bullpen sessions, it seems that a September return is not out of the question, although he could be used in a bullpen role to limit his number of pitches per game.
In an interview with the Just Baseball Show Podcast, Buehler said he expected to return to the form he was in before exiting in 2022.
“I’m not just trying to get back and collect a check,” Buehler said. “I want to be a good pitcher, and I only know one way to do that.”
The Dodgers have relied on three rookie starting pitchers — Michael Grove, Bobby Miller and Emmet Sheehan — in the wake of Buehler’s absence and the injuries to Julio Urias, Dustin May, Noah Syndergaard and Clayton Kershaw. The return of a veteran starting pitcher who has seen postseason action would bolster the Dodger’s starting rotation and bring them one step closer to a World Series title.
Photo Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
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