Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler to undergo season-ending surgery – Los Angeles Times

Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler to undergo season-ending surgery - Los Angeles Times

Walker Buehler won’t be back for the Dodgers this season.

The team announced Monday that the pitcher, who has been out since June with an elbow injury, will undergo season-ending surgery on his elbow next week.

The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Buehler suffered what the team called a flexor strain in his right elbow during a start against the San Francisco Giants in june

Buehler was shut down for six weeks — he also had an unrelated bone spur removed from his elbow during that time — and then began a throwing program late last month.

He hoped to return in some capacity for the stretch run and postseason, aiming for a late September return that might have given him a chance to at least pitch out of the bullpen in October.

However, those hopes have now been dashed with Monday’s news, dealing the Dodgers’ pitching staff a major blow less than two months before the start of the playoffs.

“We took an opportunity to try to take time, start a progression to get him back for this year,” manager Dave Roberts said “So while he got over it, we couldn’t get over the hump. We shot it and now we have to go inside [for surgery].”

While the implications of Buehler’s injury are clear, Roberts’ explanation Monday of the exact issue was vague.

Walker Buehler delivers against the Washington Nationals on May 24th.

Walker Buehler delivers against the Washington Nationals on May 24th.

(Nick Wass/Associated Press)

He said the right-hander felt some discomfort in his elbow while playing catch last week, prompting him to undergo an MRI.

The results of the MRI were not clear enough to determine the exact issue, but with Buehler no longer progressing as well as the team had hoped, Roberts said ElAttrache – the main team doctor of the Dodgers and one of the most prominent orthopedic surgeons in the. sport — recommended surgery.

“Whatever Dr. ElAttrache saw, he felt the best course of action was to go back, for surgery, to really find out what the problem was. [and] fix it,” said Roberts.

Roberts said he did not believe Tommy John surgery – which Buehler had considered as a prospect – was a possibility.

Outside of that, however, the manager reiterated that the team has no more concrete information, including a possible timeline for how long Buehler’s recovery could take.

“I don’t know how long term,” Roberts said when asked about Buehler’s availability for the start of next season. “Just looking at the calendar, I’m sure it will have some impact [on next season]. But I’m very hesitant to give a timeline.”

Roberts added: “I’m waiting to get more information once they find out what the diagnosis was and what they did to fix any part of the elbow. But so far, that’s all we have.”

Entering the season, Buehler was expected to anchor the rotation.

The 28-year-old moved away from his best season as a big leaguer in 2021when he went 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA and finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting.

He was named the Dodgers’ opening day starter this year for the first time in his career.

He seemed to take over a mantle Clayton Kershaw held over the previous decade, expected to be the staff for a team with World Series expectations.

In the end, however, none of it came to pass.

Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler walks from the field after being relieved in the third inning.

Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler walks off the field after being relieved in the third inning against the New York Mets on June 4.

(Alex Gallardo/Associated Press)

Buehler has been inconsistent through the first two months of the campaign with a 4.02 ERA in 12 starts, struggling especially with his usually dominant fastball.

Then, during a June 12 start against the San Francisco Giants, he said something in his elbow “seized” while he was on the mound, forcing him to leave his outing early and undergo a tryout the next day.

That’s when Buehler was diagnosed with the flexor tendon strain, and later decided to also undergo the arthroscopic procedure to remove the bone spur he’d had for several years, something that wasn’t expected to affect his timeline for a return.

In the two months since, the Dodgers remained hopeful that Buehler would indeed return in time for the playoffs.

It was part of their reasoning for staying quiet at the trade deadline.

They still envisioned a possibility where the right-hander could help their pursuit of a championship.

“I’m going to do everything I can to come back and contribute as much as possible,” a seemingly optimistic Buehler said last month.

Monday’s news dashed those hopes for good.

“It’s definitely a blow,” Roberts said. “We’re better with Walker on our ball club. But there’s just nothing we can do about it. I still believe we have enough guys to get through October to prevent runs. But yeah, I mean, I wanted, we wanted Walker to be a part of this.”

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