Walker Buehler continues to make progress as he attempts to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers this season after undergoing a second career Tommy John surgery along with having his right flexor tendon repaired in 2022.
Buehler began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday with positive results. He pitched two perfect innings while striking out two and touching 96.1 mph with his fastball velocity in his first start since June 10, 2022.
With the impressive outing, Buehler is now set to pitch his second rehab start on Friday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said via MLB.com:
Manager Dave Roberts said Buehler felt good coming out of the first rehab start and the plan is for the right-hander to make his second start with OKC on Sept. 8.
Buehler is expected to start at least three rehab games before he’s an option to return to the Dodgers. He first set a goal of returning on September 1, but a return at any point would still be impressive.
If the Dodgers do end up activating him, he would come back in a starting role, but on a more limited basis.
“A starter, there’s no clear definition. A starter is the person who starts a game,” Roberts said. “It’s not going to be five (innings) and 75 (pitches), I know that.”
Buehler went 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 12 starts prior to missing the remainder of the 2022 season. He faces a final year of salary arbitration before potentially becoming a free agent after the 2024 season.
Walker Buehler debuted new windup in rehab start
In addition to the results from the rehab start and not experiencing any setbacks the following day, Buehler unveiled a new windup. Buehler’s delivery no longer entails raising both arms over his head and instead he keeps the ball near the waist before beginning to stride toward home plate.
When recently discussing the recovery process from a right flexor tendon repair and second Tommy John surgery, Buehler mentioned his delivery was among the areas being examined. The 29-year-old surmised if he needed a second elbow reconstruction surgery that perhaps his delivery was partly to blame.
Such a belief and willingness to change is not surprising when considering Buehler has long been a forward-thinker and open to adjustments.
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