In addition to once being prized prospects in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw now share another commonality. Both returned from the 10-day disabled list this season without going on a scheduled rehab assignment.
Kershaw was due to join Triple-A Oklahoma City last weekend for a start but instead remained with the Dodgers and faced the New York Mets at Citi Field. He went three innings in a de facto rehab game at the Major League level.
Buehler, recovering from a right rib microfracture, was scheduled to start for Oklahoma City on Thursday. Unlike Kershaw, he did board a flight to join the Dodgers’ affiliate.
But Buehler returned to the Dodger Stadium and took the place of Josh Fields on the active roster when the reliever was placed on the 10-day DL due to right shoulder inflammation.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts intended to pitch Buehler for three innings in relief of his ace. Buehler entered in the sixth but allowed five runs on five hits and only recorded three outs.
Naturally, there was talk about whether the quick turnaround to rejoin the Dodgers had an adverse effect. Buehler denied that being the case and simply said he failed to execute, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“We talked about it,” Buehler said. “I felt good about it, and I didn’t execute. That’s about it. … You can call it rust, whatever you want, but I didn’t throw the ball the way I wanted to, and those guys took advantage.”
Roberts explained the Dodgers were comfortable with Buehler’s progression to activate him and immediately have the rookie pitch in a game. Although the end result was not desirable, Buehler at least came away from the relief appearance feeling healthy.
Assuming he does not suffer any sort of setback in the coming days, he could be inserted back into the starting rotation next week. And that may correlate to the Dodgers temporarily utilizing a six-man rotation.
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