If there ever was a year in which the Los Angeles Dodgers needed their ace healthy, it is definitely 2023.
They won’t have Tyler Anderson, as he signed with the crosstown rival Los Angeles Angels.
They also lost Andrew Heaney to the Texas Rangers.
Unfortunately, odds are against Walker Buehler pitching this year.
He underwent Tommy John surgery and a flexor tendon repair in late August.
The reports coming out of Los Angeles are positive, though, so there is at least some reason to be optimistic.
“Walker Buehler began his throwing program yesterday, but it’s still too soon to know whether he will be able to pitch at all this year after having Tommy John surgery last season,” the LA Times’ Jack Harris tweeted.
–– Walker Buehler began his throwing program yesterday, but it's still too soon to know whether he will be able to pitch at all this year after having Tommy John surgery last season
— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) March 2, 2023
Buehler, who has a brilliant 3.02 career ERA and a 1.04 WHIP, could potentially be ready in September or October.
The usual timetable for the Tommy John procedure is between 14-16 months.
However, there are pitchers who have returned after just 12 months, while others take a couple of seasons for a variety of reasons.
What we are trying to say is that it will all ultimately depend on Buehler, his rehab, and how he looks in minor league games during his assignment when the moment comes.
Not only does he need his velocity to return all the way, but command usually takes a bit longer (May is a perfect example).
In all likelihood, Buehler will return locked and loaded for the 2024 campaign.
He does have a slight chance to beat the odds and do it this year, though.NEXT: Dodgers Infielder Withdraws From The WBC