Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Walker Buehler may not return to the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation during the 2023 season, but he nevertheless continues to move along in his recovery from a right flexor tendon repair and second Tommy John surgery.
Shortly after Buehler began throwing from flat ground at 150 feet, the right-hander advanced to pitching off a mound. “Rehab is going really good. Stretching it out, he’s been off the mound,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said over the weekend.
Buehler was recently at Dodger Stadium and is expected to be back on hand Monday. “We’ll know more when he gets here, but he’s progressing and every day he’s gotten better,” Roberts added.
Prior to last being in Los Angeles at the end of April, Buehler was days removed from attending Game 6 of the NBA playoff series between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors and on the verge of attending 2023 Kentucky Derby. Buehler has a minority stake in Authentic, which came to light when the horse won the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2020.
“He’s living his best life,” Roberts said of Buehler at the time.
Buehler went 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.29 WHIP across 12 starts prior to missing the remainder of the 2022 season. His strikeout rate was noticeably down, but Buehler finished with six in his final outing of the year, tying for third-most in any start last season.
The 28-year-old avoided arbitration by coming to terms with the Dodgers on a one-year, $8.025 million contract for 2023. His reported salary fell just shy of the MLB Trade Rumors projection of $8.1 million.
Buehler faces a final year of salary arbitration before potentially becoming a free agent after the 2024 season.
Will Walker Buehler return in 2023?
In his first interview after undergoing Tommy John, Buehler expressed confidence in being able to pitch for the Dodgers at some point during the 2023 season.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman also didn’t rule out the possibility, buoyed by the team receiving encouraging feedback from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on the operation.
Nevertheless, odds are against Buehler returning this season. The recovery after a second Tommy John surgery historically is closer to 14 months, and the Dodgers tend to err on the side of caution with timelines.
Buehler’s surgery was on August 23, 2022.
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