Dodgers Spring Training: Walker Buehler ‘Unlikely’ To Start Cactus League Game

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The Los Angeles Dodgers made fixing their starting rotation a priority during the offseason and ended up acquiring Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, James Paxton and re-signing Clayton Kershaw.

They are also expected to get Walker Buehler back at some point this season. The right-handed missed the entire 2023 season after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery in late 2022.

Buehler made a push to return in 2023, but he was ultimately shut down to focus on 2024. Now, the Dodgers have been slow playing him, and according to manager Dave Roberts, Buehler probably won’t make a start in Spring Training, via Juan Toribio of

#Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Walker Buehler is “throwing the ball well” but also added it was “unlikely” the right-hander makes a Cactus League start this spring.

— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) February 19, 2024

The Dodgers already ruled out Buehler for the Opening Day roster despite the progression in his rehab. Buehler said he is ahead of schedule and there have seemingly been no issues, but the Dodgers are prioritizing the postseason and later months of the season, rather than the early months.

Buehler started throwing bullpen sessions before reporting to Camelback Ranch for Spring Training and he has continued to do so in Arizona. It’s almost a certainty Buehler will eventually start Minor League games while on his rehab assignment, but it remains to be seen when the Dodgers will start ramping him up.

Buehler last pitched in an MLB game on June 10, 2022. His rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City last September consisted of two strikeouts in two hitless innings.

Walker Buehler encouraged by Nathan Eovaldi

Buehler is looking to join a select group of pitchers who have made it back to the Majors after undergoing two Tommy John operations. Chief among them is Nathan Eovaldi, who just won his second World Series championship with the Texas Rangers.

Eovaldi’s success has added to Buehler’s confidence he can get back to form. Unfortuantley, there’s also a long list of pitchers who haven’t been able to come back successfully or saw diminished results.

Buehler is set to become a free agent following the 2024 season, so this year will be key for him to prove he’s back on track and healthy.

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