Shortly after undergoing a right flexor tendon repair and second Tommy John surgery last August, Walker Buehler set a goal of returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation by September 1, 2023.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts appreciated Buehler’s commitment to returning, but both cautioned that timeline was more aggressive than what the team envisioned, if not improbable.
Although Buehler is behind schedule to be activated by the start of September, he took a notable step forward on Wednesday by facing batters in a simulated game at Chase Field.
Buehler enjoyed checking off another box in his recovery process and particularly with it providing an opportunity to get out from under the desert sun at Camelback Ranch, via SportsNet LA:
“It was good. Just one inning, so nothing too crazy. But good to get out there, and cool to do it here, obviously, and not in the heat at Camelback. It was fun.”
As for how he performed in the simulated game, Buehler took the positive with some negative in stride:
“It was fine. It’s never going to be perfect your first time out there. Made some good pitches, made some bad pitches. It’s over with.”
Next for the 29-year-old is facing batters at least two or three more times before the Dodgers would begin to plan a rehab assignment. Most important, however, is Buehler not experiencing any sort of setback following his first time pitching to hitters.
When previously discussing Buehler’s outlook for the rest of the year, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the team would be comfortable with allowing him to stretch out by making starts at the Major League level. Roberts also expressed confidence Buehler still had ample time to build up to a full workload by the postseason.
Walker Buehler pitches against PGA star Jon Rahm
After meeting the Dodgers during their homestand, Buehler traveled with the team for the start of their road trip. That was with a planned bullpen session on the horizon, which Buehler threw at Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) while 2023 Masters champion Jon Rahm stood in a makeshift batter’s box.
While it was an eye-opening experience for Rahm, Dodgers assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness was impressed by the level Buehler threw at.
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