Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler made his long anticipated 2019 Spring Training debut against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, yielding one run on three hits with two strikeouts over 2.2 innings of work.
The 24-year-old came away content with his first start of the spring, although he admitted to battling some rust at times. Buehler specifically noted a few occasions in which he missed the location with some of his pitches.
Catching Buehler was none other than Russell Martin, who offered high praise for the rising star in the wake of the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss to the Indians.
Martin has been impressed with Buehler’s progression and deemed that all of his different pitches on display against Cleveland were sharp, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
"when you talk about the heater, the two-seamer, the cutter, curveball, slider. Everything is sharp. It's amazing.
"If it gets better than that — wow."
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 20, 2019
All things considered, Buehler’s first start of the spring should be considered a success considering he wasn’t feeling like himself when pitchers and catchers first reported to Camelback Ranch in mid-February.
Despite the encouraging results, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has already ruled out Buehler from potentially starting on Opening Day now that Clayton Kershaw will officially begin the season on the 10-day injured list.
Buehler will next take the mound against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the exhibition Freeway Series, where he’ll continue building up his pitch count in preparation for his regular season debut.