Dodgers Spring Training: Walker Buehler Trying To Get Body ‘To Work Together’

The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their starting rotation with healthy options that provide them with enough cushion to navigate their way through an entire season while also awaiting the returns of Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw from respective injuries.

Buehler’s build up hasn’t been perfect, as a search for consistent mechanics and repeatability have been a theme early on in Spring Training. There was an initial delay in facing batters, but Buehler advanced from solely throwing bullpen sessions.

“I don’t know how many lives I’ll throw,” he said. “I’m kind of on more of a rotation, but at least three or four lives, and then hopefully get in a game. I don’t know if that will be, with how short our spring is, it’s a little different. Maybe the Freeway Series or something like that, and kind of see what happens from there.

“The big thing for me is I’m not hampering us in terms of innings. I’d rather build up and kind of be ready to go when I come back.”

Having a timeline for return is more of an open-ended point of view when dealing with as delicate of a situation as Buehler is in. The main reason being he’s in the profile of a power arm that utilizes so much in body effort in order to be successful.

Buehler added that being in tune with his entire delivery will perhaps allow him to get over that last hurdle so he can take the next step.

“For me, it’s more the body and getting that pop back in the body,” Buehler said. “It’s kind of hard to explain, but you’re trying to protect the arm for forever and make sure it doesn’t hurt. And then it feels good, so you throw it all arm.

“So now I’m trying to get them to work together. [Tuesday] was kind of a step forward in terms of that. I think getting in there and having a professional in there against you all leads to velocity, action and better stuff. [Tuesday] was definitely a step forward that way.”

The right-hander’s most recent time on the mound saw a slight increase in fastball velocity while facing Miguel Vargas and other hitters.

“From what I saw, it was 94-95 (mph). I threw 28 pitches. It equated to like an inning. Everybody will spin that and say I had a 30-pitch inning, but I wanted to throw 25-30.

“I kind of held the velo and hopefully we can get a couple more ticks as I go along. For the most part, up until I got hurt, that was kind of where I was. I would like to get a little more top-end velo to it, but all in all, I felt pretty good about it.”

How much can Walker Buehler contribute in 2024?

Short answer is, a lot. Because once Buehler is cleared to make regular starts and his arm responds well to a normal schedule, he’ll have a spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

The narrative surrounding the team last year was their lack of depth in the pitching department. To which Buehler wants to be a key piece to that unit, dispelling any drop in confidence that he’s going through a poor build up to the season.

“I want to be ready at the end of the year and if that means I can’t be ready at the beginning, that’s kind of the option or choice you have to make,” Buehler said. “Everything that’s been written about me that it’s not going well, I don’t think that’s true. There’s just boxes I’ve got to check. I feel good about it.”

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