After a deliberate build up in Spring Training this year, Walker Buehler crossed a notable hurdle by throwing live batting practice before the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the Seattle Mariners.
The Dodgers have been cautious in their handling of Buehler thus far in camp, protecting the young right-hander as he is coming off a career high in innings pitched. Prior to Saturday, Buehler had been limited to playing catch and scattered bullpen sessions.
Newly-acquired utility player Brad Miller was among the lucky few to step in and face Buehler on a backfield at Camelback. Miller then was in the lineup against the Mariners, which he felt was easier competition after facing the young flamethrower, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“That’s high octane,” Miller said of Buehler. “I was just battling for my life. I want to play behind that guy. He’s nasty. My first two pitches I took, I was being a wimp. Then I locked it in and hit the one up the middle and he locked it in and it became a battle and we all got something out of it. That made the game easy compared to Walker, nothing against those guys. That’s no joke. Walker was awesome.”
Miller started in left field and collected one of the Dodgers’ four hits on the afternoon. Two others belonged to Kiké Hernandez, who slugged a pair of solo home runs from the leadoff spot in the lineup.
Although Miller took the opportunity to rave about Buehler, the 29-year-old himself has impressed since being signed to a Minor League contract. As for Buehler, the expectation is he’ll throw a second live BP session and follow that by starting in a Cactus League game.