Dodgers Team News

Walker Buehler Surprised Himself in First Game With Dodgers Since 2022

Walker Buehler returned to the mound on Monday for the first time since June 10, 2022. In his much-awaited comeback after undergoing surgery for a torn UCL and to repair his flexor tendon, Buehler pitched four innings and struck out four Miami Marlins batters while allowing three earned runs.

The highlight of Buehler’s start was his velocity. His first pitch, a fastball, clocked in at 96 miles per hour. At one point reached 98 miles per hour — more speed than he had shown in any of his six minor league rehab starts. Even Buehler himself was impressed and a little surprised by how fast he was able to throw the baseball in his first major league start of 2024.

“It made sense with how amped up I was feeling or how fast my heart was going, I guess,” Buehler told reporters, including Dodgers Nation’s Doug McKain. “I wasn’t super surprised, but you think about 22 months and now three surgeries and dealing with that kind of stuff. To be able to – I think the first fastball was 96 and I looked (at the scoreboard) and, ‘Okay.’ You kind of get that, ‘I belong here again’ thing. It was cool.”

“I didn’t think there was 98 in there still or 97 or whatever it was,” Buehler said. “The adrenaline of being back, normally I try and temper that and I’ve been somewhat concerned about the velocity a little bit. So you kind of try and ride it and see what’s in there. I think the next one I’ll probably feel the same and be able to temper it a little bit knowing that it’s in there. I think I’ll probably have a little bit higher expectations of myself in my next outing, but I feel pretty good about coming out of it, walking in and my arm can be fully straight. That felt pretty good.”

Buehler certainly still had some nerves and rust to shake off after this first start, but it was a positive performance for him after missing almost two full years. The belief is that he will continue to improve and gain consistency as he works his way back, and to potentially even return to the pitcher he was as a two-time All-Star.

Photo Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

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Eva Geitheim

Eva graduated from UCLA in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in Communication. She has been covering college and professional sports since 2022.

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