The Dodgers announced on Monday that the right-handed Walker Buhler He will undergo surgery on his right elbow at the end of the season on August 23. He has been out since June 10 after being diagnosed with Grade 2 flexor strain. Fabian Dress from The Athletic Tweets That Buhler’s recent MRI was not conclusive enough to determine the extent of the damage to his elbow, but Dr. Neil Al-Atrash saw enough to recommend surgery. Dodgers should provide more details once the action is in place.
That injury initially called for a six-to-eight-week suspension from throwing, and the Dodgers were certainly hoping Buehler could make a comeback in late September and/or perhaps in the post-season. Instead, he won’t play again until next season at the earliest. Further details are not clear, as the team declined to provide details about the nature of the action in its initial announcement.
Buehler, 28, finished fourth in Cy Young’s vote in the National League last season, but he now has multiple arm issues this season. Once it became clear that forearm strain would sideline Buehler for three months, he underwent an arthroscopy to remove a bony spur from his elbow — a problem he said had plagued him for the past few seasons.
Arm(s) limited Buehler to 65 rounds in 2022, during which time he posted a 4.02 ERA with a career-low strike rate of 21.2%. They’re infantry figures by his lofty standards—and both are roughly in line with the league’s average production among beginner MLB shooters (4.09 ERA, 21.4% strike rate).
Dating back to his first full season in the big league, in 2018, Buehler has established himself as a rock in the Dodgers’ rotation and as one of the most talented arms in the National League. He ranks 23rd in the main innings from 2018-22 – even with this year’s wasted time galore – and also ranks seventh in ERA (2.95), 25th in strike rate (27%) and 32nd in walk rate (6.2%) amid field of the 152 eligible starting shooters at the time.
For now, Buehler will be joining both of them Clayton Kershaw (low back pain) and Dustin May (Recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2021) is on the casualty list. Both May and Kershaw will return before the end of the regular season. He recently hit 10 hitters over the course of five rounds at the start of Season 5 of Triple-A. He built as many as 70 stadiums. Meanwhile, Kershaw recently underwent an epidural and resumed throwing, although there is no immediate timetable for him to return to the major league hill.
With this trio on the shelf, the Dodgers will look Julio UrreasAnd the Tony JohnslinAnd the Tyler AndersonAnd the Andrew Heaney upward Ryan Baby As rotation options – although Pepiot may soon be paid by May. Even without a pair of big-name arms like Kershaw and Buehler, it’s a formidable group thanks to outstanding performances from both Gonsolin (2.24 ERA, 116 1/3 innings), Anderson (2.81 ERA, 128 1/3 innings) and Heaney (1.16 ERA, 32.3% strike rate in 31 rounds).
Obviously, not being able to draw Buehler into hopeful rotation stings in the post-season, but the group of Urias, Gonsolin and Kershaw remains in the top three, with May, Anderson and Heaney all at the start of the final as well. The broader question for the Dodgers is exactly what Buehler’s recovery and outlook for 2023 will be.
Even in the event Buehler needs surgery from Tommy John and would need to miss the majority of the 2023 season – which, to be definitively clear, was not indicated or even implied by the team – it would still be a lock to be bid for a contract. The 2022 campaign was the second of a two-year, $8 million deal to buy Buehler’s first two-year arbitration. He will be eligible for ARB four times as a Super Two player, which means he has two raises. Due to his limited workload this year, he will be due only a modest increase to his $4.25 million salary, making him a no-brainer for the dodgers to keep him in the fold.
However, how long Buehler recovers will certainly affect the Dodgers’ off-season direction and the level of aggressiveness they seek to assist in the rotation. The Dodgers are currently standing by to see Kershaw, Anderson and Heaney all likely walk free agents, so they will definitely be in the mix to start helping out this season.
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