Dodgers Team News

Walker Buehler Still Hoping to Add More Velocity as Return to Dodgers Nears

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Walker Buehler hopes to hit one more step before returning to the big leagues. To this point, Buehler has spent his 2024 season in rehab mode. He’s had some great outings, and some have been a bit shaky; however, one thing that has kept him up is ensuring his velocity is competitive.

In a recent interview with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Buehler said his mission is to add more velocity before returning to a major league mound.

“I think everyone hopes the adrenaline [of a major league game] will make you throw harder. My velo has been OK, but maybe we’ll get a tick or a little bump. You guys have seen me for a few years and know that I’m pretty emotional [on the mound], so I think I’m definitely excited to feel everything again.”

Walker Buehler, via the Los Angeles Times

In 2022, Buehler’s last healthy season with the Dodgers, his fastball velocity averaged 95.2 mph, which ranked in the 72nd percentile among all MLB pitchers. In his rehab starts, his four-seamer has touched 95.9 mph. Clearly, Buehler feels he has more speed he can unlock.

In different circumstances, the Dodgers might try to justify ending Buehler’s rehab now and inserting him in their starting rotation. However, manager Dave Roberts isn’t rushing him back if he believes he isn’t ready.

“We’re just trying to figure out where he is physically. The pitch count is getting up. The stuff was much better [last week], arguably as good as it’s been in a long time. So that’s good. He just couldn’t land the curveball. I appreciate he was making an effort to do that. But the [between-starts] bullpen was good, so he’s in a really good spot. But to get him up and down five times in his next outing, I think, will be very helpful.”

Dave Roberts, via the Los Angeles Times

The two-time All-Star is near the end of his recovery from Tommy John surgery and a flexor tendon repair, which he underwent in June 2022. His return is imminent; all we have to do is wait. He could be back as early as next week.

Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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Ricardo Sandoval

Born and Raised in the East side of Los Angeles. Ricardo is a staff writer at Dodgers Nation and on the LA Sports Report network of sites. He's also a lifelong Dodgers and Lakers fan. Ricardo is an alumnus of CSUN (Go Matadors).

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