Dodgers News: Walker Buehler Projected To Pitch 140-150 Innings During 2018 Season
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been extremely cautious with their young pitching prospects in recent years, particularly ones coming off Tommy John surgery like Walker Buehler.

The organization has made it clear that they plan to again limit Buehler’s innings this season, which is his second full year coming off the surgery. Thus, he would appear unlikely to be included on the Dodgers Opening Day roster.

Buehler threw 98 combined innings between the Minors and Majors in 2017, his first full professional season. And although the Dodgers intend to keep the right-hander on a limit in 2018, manager Dave Roberts said that could increase by a significant margin to as much as 140-150 innings, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:

Buehler will likely be limited to begin the season so the Dodgers would be in position to utilize him without restrictions in the latter part of the season.

Because of that, Buehler didn’t see his first action of the spring until pitching in a ‘B’ game on Monday. Also part of the reason for that is that he was dealing with back discomfort in January, which delayed his throwing program a bit.

Buehler made his MLB debut last season as a reliever after being called up in September. He is expected to contribute as a starter this season though, which is his natural role.

How much he time he spends with the Dodgers will not only depend on his own health, but the health of other starters as well as he is not currently projected to be in the team’s rotation.

The Dodgers front office often gets creative with utilizing their depth, so Buehler will definitely get an opportunity to stick in the rotation at some point this season.