Walker Buehler hoped to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2023 season after recovering from a right flexor tendon repair and second Tommy John surgery, but saw his comeback efforts fall short. The right-hander made one start with Triple-A Oklahoma City in early September as part of a rehab assignment before announcing his focus had shifted to getting healthy for 2024.
It meant that Buehler would be unable to contribute to the Dodgers in the postseason for a second consecutive year. L.A. went on to be swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series.
During an appearance on the “Roggin And Rodney” show, Buehler admitted it was hard to watch the Dodgers in the playoffs knowing he could not help his teammates win games:
“Of course it is. I don’t think I’ve been perfect in the playoffs, but I’m kind of confident in myself and wish I could be there. Wish I could try and do something. This is two years in a row I’ve sat and watched the playoffs happen, and it stinks. You want to be a part of it. Everybody that plays this game, you want to get to the Major Leagues, and then once you do, you want to play in the playoffs. Some of my best memories, some of my worst memories, some of the most vivid things I remember about playing this game all happened in the playoffs. The standard is kind of set in L.A. that we’re going to be there every year, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there next year.”
While it was disappointing that he couldn’t make it back to a big league mound this past season, Buehler should be ready for the start of Spring Training barring any setbacks.
The 29-year-old is entering his final year of salary arbitration before potentially becoming a free agent after the 2024 season.
Buehler’s return will boost a Dodgers rotation that was plagued by injuries in 2023. The group could have a different look next year, with Clayton Kershaw and Lance Lynn reaching the open market, and several free agents and trade targets being linked to L.A.
Walker Buehler encouraged by Nathan Eovaldi’s success after Tommy John surgeries
Buehler is looking to join a select group of pitchers who have made it back to the Majors after undergoing two Tommy John surgeries.
Chief among them is Nathan Eovaldi, who just won his second World Series championship with the Texas Rangers. Buehler said he is encouraged by Eovaldi’s success since undergoing the two operations and hopes to have similar results.