Walker Buehler continues to have his sights set on returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation next month as he works his way back from a right flexor tendon repair and second Tommy John surgery in his career.
Buehler cleared a major hurdle by throwing his first bullpen session since the operation this past June, and he has continued to increase the intensity and pitch count with them in the months since.
Buehler threw from flat ground at Dodger Stadium on Thursday and then completed another bullpen session in San Diego after traveling with the Dodgers for the start of their road trip.
Dodgers assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness was among those in attendance and believes Buehler looked like his usual self on the mound, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“It was great,” the Dodgers assistant pitching coach said. “He looks like Walker.”
Buehler threw his bullpen session at the Titleist Performance Institute, which has advanced technology the Dodgers can use to analyze the right-hander and determine where he is at in his recovery from last year’s elbow surgery:
“He’s been talking with some of those TPI guys,” McGuiness said. “Walker’s got a huge growth mindset. He loves learning. He wants to just get as much information as he possibly can. We’re always comfortable with anyone seeking out other info and whatnot. He has a great filter. It’s just kind of picking and choosing a little of this, a little of that, getting another motion capture on him, kind of see where he’s at.”
Buehler went 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.29 WHIP across 12 starts prior to missing the remainder of the 2022 season.
Next steps for Walker Buehler
After another encouraging bullpen session, the next steps for Buehler are facing hitters and beginning a Minor League rehab assignment, which Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated could happen soon.
“He is on the verge,” Roberts said last week of Buehler potentially joining a Minor League affiliate.
“‘Verge’ is still vague, but certainly if we’re talking about early September (for a return), August has to be in play. So he’s on the verge of going out. I just don’t know when that is.”
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