In a season filled with twists and turns, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace, Walker Buehler, was on the brink of a remarkable comeback in 2023. However, as we’ll see in this FAQ-style article, Buehler’s journey to recovery hit an unexpected roadblock.
What Happened in Walker Buehler’s Remarkable Comeback Attempt?
Walker Buehler, known for his prowess on the mound, embarked on a 13-month journey to recover from a second Tommy John surgery. The finish line seemed tantalizingly close when, on September 3, he threw two impeccable innings for triple-A Oklahoma City against Round Rock. His fastball clocked an impressive 96 mph.
However, just as he was sprinting toward the homestretch, Buehler decided to halt his comeback. Why? The recovery process was taking longer than he had anticipated, and he didn’t want to jeopardize his 2024 season.
Buehler himself described his situation, saying, "The way I kind of explain it is I feel like I kind of bet on a longshot horse and it ran second. I certainly don’t think it came in last. I got really, really close."
Why Did Walker Buehler Choose to Abort His Comeback?
Rehabilitation is a meticulous process, and Buehler, a proven playoff performer, understood the stakes. After his game in triple-A, he and his team assessed the situation, weighing the pros and cons of his return. Ultimately, they made the tough decision to shift their focus to preparing for next year.
Buehler’s decision, while disappointing, was driven by a desire to ensure he comes back stronger in 2024. His recovery wasn’t progressing as required to make a meaningful impact in the 2023 season.
The Timing of the Announcement
Buehler acknowledged that the timing of his announcement was less than ideal, coming late in the year. The Dodgers had not pinned all their hopes on him for the playoff rotation, but they certainly would have welcomed his contribution. The Dodgers’ starting staff had been plagued by injuries, including season-ending ones to Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, Clayton Kershaw’s shoulder injury, and Julio Urías’s absence due to a domestic violence arrest.
While the disappointment of not seeing Buehler back on the mound this season is palpable, there’s a silver lining. Buehler will be a free agent after the 2024 season, and the Dodgers will need him just as much next year as they would have in the 2023 playoffs.
Buehler’s journey serves as a reminder of the challenges athletes face during rehabilitation and the importance of taking a cautious approach. He may not have reached the finish line in 2023, but his determination and commitment to his long-term success are evident.
As Buehler aptly puts it, "I checked a lot of the boxes that I wanted to… But at the end of the day, I just wasn’t recovering the way I would need to… It’s obviously disappointing for me, but we still have a really good team here, and I’m excited to watch them the rest of the year."
In closing, Walker Buehler ‘got really, really close’ to returning in 2023, and while the comeback didn’t materialize, his dedication to the Dodgers’ future remains unwavering.
Explore More on Walker Buehler’s Career and Injuries
Will Walker Buehler return to the Dodgers this season?
In a twist of fate for the Dodgers’ playoff aspirations, it has been confirmed that Walker Buehler will not make his return to the mound in the current season. The team’s hopes of bolstering their postseason pitching roster have been dashed as the right-handed pitcher, Walker Buehler, will not complete his recovery from Tommy John surgery in time to contribute this year.
Will Walker Buehler be back in September 2021?
Walker Buehler has set his sights on a September comeback, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remains cautious about his return. The Dodgers’ pitcher, Walker Buehler, showcased his skills against the Cincinnati Reds in September 2021. This comeback effort comes after Buehler’s recovery journey from Tommy John surgery last year.
Will Walker Buehler return after Tommy John surgery?
Walker Buehler is setting his sights on a September return to the pitcher’s mound after his second Tommy John surgery last year. His ambitious target is September 1, a timeline described by Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts as "aggressive" but within the realm of possibility.
What is the status of Walker Buehler?
Unfortunately, Walker Buehler won’t be making a return in 2023. His elbow injury will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season. Buehler has been absent throughout the year due to his recovery from a Tommy John procedure that took place in August 2022.