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May 7, 2024 2:26 pm

Doctor: Season debut of Dodgers’ Walker Buehler a success

walker buehler

Walker Buehler said he wished his first outing in almost two years for the Los Angeles Dodgers “could’ve gone better.”

To his doctor, noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, it couldn’t have gone better for Buehler against the Miami Marlins on Monday night.

Buehler underwent Tommy John surgery and a forearm flexor tendon repair since he last pitched on June 10, 2022. Against the Marlins, he gave up three runs on six hits, striking out four in four innings. He was lifted after throwing 77 pitches and didn’t get the decision in the Dodgers’ 6-3 win.

The length of the appearance didn’t matter to ElAttrache. What mattered, he told the Los Angeles Times, was what he saw from Buehler, including a fastball in the first inning that registered 97.6 mph — one of a dozen or so to hit at least 96.

“What he showed today is that he has complete function performance back in his elbow,” ElAttrache said.

“I think it proved to him tonight that it’s there when he needs it,” the doctor continued, talking about the fastball.

But ElAttrache was equally impressed by Buehler’s offspeed stuff.

“The shape of some of his breaking balls were devastating, dropping north to south,” ElAttrache told the Times. “That shows that the tendon is healthy because you need that healthy tendon to spin it like that.”

The return of a healthy Buehler to a rotation that already features Tyler Glasnow and Yoshinobu Yamamoto — and one due to get back Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller later this summer — will help the Dodgers as they aim for a run to the World Series.

“There’s just a lot of good things that come out of how much talent that we have, and how close we all are and how we kind of push each other,” Buehler said. “I’m excited for that, and I just want to be a cog in that. I don’t think, right now, I’m gonna be the No. 1 (starter) on our team, and that’s fine with me. But I would like to push myself closer to that conversation.”

Buehler, 29, owns a 46-16 record with a 3.04 ERA in 116 games (107 starts) since making his major league debut with the Dodgers in 2017. He helped Los Angeles win the World Series in 2020.

Buehler’s next scheduled start is Sunday in San Diego against the Padres. He’s set to be opposed by former Dodgers veteran Yu Darvish.

–Field Level Media

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