Buehler Underwent Tommy John surgery

Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2022

Tuesday, Walker Buehler underwent the second Tommy John surgery of his career, so he will miss the entire 2023 season, and no starter has ever returned from having a second Tommy John surgery.

After pitching his first Major-League complete game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Buehler did not like his dominating self. He lost his brilliant 4-seam fastball, and his breaking balls did not have their customary sharp break. He struggled with a 4.03 ERA. He felt a problem with his talented right elbow in early June while in San Francisco. He was initially diagnosed with a strained flexor muscle and underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips.

Of course, the Dodgers hoped Buehler could return in September. When Buehler tried to throw, he experienced pain in his troublesome elbow. Immediately, the Dodgers shut him down. At first, Dr. Neal ElAttrache wanted to do exploratory elbow surgery. He repaired the flexor muscle commonly known as Tommy John surgery. A typical recovery period for Tommy John surgery is about eighteen months.

In 2021, Buehler pitched more innings than any other Major-League starting pitcher as the Dodgers chased the San Francisco Giants for the National League Western Division title. He has a slight build, and he does not have much muscle. The incredible workload by Buehler might contribute his second Tommy John surgery.

This season the Dodgers will be okay without Buehler even though it would have been nice another experienced starter with the questionable health of Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Heaney. I am confident Kershaw will be healthy for the postseason. The Dodgers would like to give Tony Gonsolin a rest before the playoffs start since Gonsolin has pitched a career-high in innings. With the Dodger humongous lead over the San Diego Padres, they might be able to rest Gonsolin and Julio Urías before the postseason.

The 2023 Dodger starting rotation is a question mark. Will both Kershaw and Tyler Anderson return in a Dodger uniform for 2023? Barring an injury, Urías, Gonsolin, and Dustin May should be in the rotation. Will either or both Ryan Pepoit or Bobby Miller be ready for the Major Leagues in 2023.

I feel bad for Buehler for needing his second Tommy John surgery. However, he has an example in Caleb Ferguson having a successful second Tommy John surgery. Ferguson has been amazing. If Buehler must be a reliever and narrow his pitch selection to lessen the stress on his arm, he will be an awesome reliever, perhaps a closer. At least, Dr. ElAttrache was pleased how the surgery went.

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