Dodgers Injury Update: Walker Buehler Details Velocity Increase & Throwing Progression

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The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Walker Buehler on the 15-day injured list as part of setting their Opening Day roster for the Seoul Series, but he continues to make progress toward a return.

Buehler last pitched for the Dodgers on June 10, 2022, and it was in that game that he left in the middle of the outing due to experiencing right elbow discomfort. Buehler had Tommy John surgery two months later and has navigated a prolonged rehab process since.

He aggressively attempted a comeback for the Dodgers’ playoff run last year but was ultimately shut down due to lingering soreness and having trouble recovering after throwing.

Buehler’s rehab process continued into Spring Training with some mixed results along the way. But as the Dodgers started their 2024 season with the Seoul Series, the right-hander shared a positive update on his fastball velocity and planned schedule moving forward while appearing on “The Just Baseball Show”:

“I throw live to hitters again on Tuesday and I’ll kind of stay on six days, I think for a month or so, and kind of see where we’re at. My last one went well. I threw three innings and I was up to 97 (mph), which was pretty good for me. We’ve got all these guys throwing a million these days, but I don’t even know if I was throwing 97 in ’22. So it’s a step forward. Now it’s just getting the tissue tolerance and bounce-back.”

There were questions about Buehler’s fastball velocity, which he downplayed and expressed a belief it would begin to increase further into the calendar.

Buehler’s average fastball velocity during the 2022 season was 95 mph. Though velocity is not the only key factor, it is certainly encouraging for Buehler to be above that mark despite needing another elbow surgery.

Even if he cannot sustain that level of velocity, consistently staying in that mid-to-upper 90s range should allow Buehler to be effective in 2024.

When will Walker Buehler return?

Early projections had Buehler possibly joining the Dodgers rotation around May, and there was a slim chance he would start in a Spring Training game. But that effectively was dashed with Buehler going on the injured list.

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