Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler announced that he has decided to cease his comeback efforts for the 2023 season following Tommy John surgery.
Buehler made the difficult decision after realizing that his recovery was not progressing as expected, despite a promising rehab start.
The right-handed pitcher made a return to the mound on September 3rd with a rehab appearance for Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he threw two scoreless innings and showcased impressive velocity.
“I was throwing 96 [mph] or whatever. Physically I felt really good, it’s just the recovery part of it is tough,” Buehler expressed. “Trying to come back from a second Tommy John in 13 months to pitch in playoff games at some point had to go perfect, and the nature of rehab is just that it doesn’t always go perfect.”
Walker Buehler will not return in 2023. https://t.co/b3B1vM04Hy
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 8, 2023
This marked Buehler’s first outing since his initial Tommy John surgery on August 23, 2022.
“The way I explain it is I feel like I kind of bet on a long-shot horse and it ran second. I certainly don’t think it came in last,” Buehler said.
“I got really, really close. After the game, we just didn’t like the pros and cons of where I was at.”
Buehler had been hoping to rejoin the Dodgers, who currently lead the National League West, later this month but ultimately chose to prioritize his health and the team’s success.
“I didn’t want to be a hindrance in any way,” Buehler told reporters. “I know that’s kind of more humble than you guys are used to hearing me, but it’s part of it.”
When asked about the possibility of transitioning to a one-inning reliever role, Buehler responded: “Have you seen my numbers as a reliever?” implying he’s much more effective as a starter.
Off the field, he is set to become a first-time father during the upcoming offseason and intends to be in Los Angeles in January to begin preparations for the 2024 season.
Throughout his career, Buehler has compiled an impressive record, boasting a 46-16 win-loss record with a 3.02 ERA in 115 career appearances. His last appearance in a major league game was on June 10, 2022.
“I got to compete and go out and did it pretty quickly, and I’m pretty proud of that,” Buehler concluded.
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