Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Walker Buehler was among the three Los Angeles Dodgers players placed on the 60-day injured list when Spring Training workouts began last month. He is expected to miss most — if not all — of the 2023 season while recovering from a second Tommy John surgery this past August.
Buehler also needed his right flexor tendon repaired as part of the operation. Prior to that, he additionally underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow.
As pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch, Buehler said he was pleased with his recovery process thus far and nearing the start of a throwing program.
The 28-year-old played long toss on Wednesday and posted a clip to his Instagram. Buehler got out to 60 feet in a limited session for his first time throwing since Tommy John surgery.
While it’s promising that Buehler has resumed throwing, he still faces long odds to return during the 2023 season. The recovery for Tommy John surgery historically is at least 12 months, and longer when it is a pitcher’s second operation.
However, if Buehler continues to trend in the right direction, he could potentially return late in the year as an opener or reliever.
Buehler was in the midst of an uncharacteristic 2022 season before sustaining a right forearm strain that led to his surgery. He finished the year 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.29 WHIP across 12 starts.
Buehler’s strikeout rate was noticeably down, but he did record six in his final outing of the season against the San Francisco Giants, tying for third-most in any start last year.
Dodgers starting rotation outlook without Walker Buehler
Whether or not Buehler is able to pitch this season remains to be seen, but the Dodgers starting rotation still figures to be a strength.
The group will be led by Julio Urías and Clayton Kershaw, followed by free-agent signing Noah Syndergaard, and a pair of promising young arms in Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May.
Michael Grove, Andrew Jackson, Landon Knack, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone are among the Dodgers prospects who could receive opportunities at some point as well.
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