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Walker Buehler to make first major league start Monday vs. Marlins

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers announced on Sunday that Walker Buehler will be recalled from Triple-A on Monday to make his first major league start in the series opener against the Marlins at Dodger Stadium.

Buehler was originally slated to start on Sunday for Triple-A Oklahoma City but that wasn’t going to happen one way or another, with OKC rained out Sunday in New Orleans.

Starting lineups

Pos Nationals Pos Dodgers
Pos Nationals Pos Dodgers
SS Turner CF Taylor
2B Kendrick SS Seager (L)
RF Harper (L) C Grandal (S)
1B Zimmerman 1B Bellinger (L)
CF Taylor LF Pederson (L)
LF Sierra RF Puig
C Severino 2B Utley (L)
3B Difo (S) 3B Muncy (L)
P Hellickson P Wood
Time: 5:08 p.m. PT TV: ESPN

The 23-year-old right-hander, the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2015, had a 2.08 ERA in three start in Triple-A Oklahoma City, with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings. He made his major league debut last September with eight relief appearances, posting a 7.71 ERA with 12 strikeouts and eight walks in 9⅓ innings.

“The bullpen was something we tried and I think I could be successful there as well but I’m a starter,” Buehler said during spring training. “I’m excited to get back to it and hopefully have some success.”

The Dodgers had an open spot in their rotation with Rich Hill landing on the 10-day disabled list with a cracked fingernail. This could be a two-start stint for Buehler with the Dodgers having a doubleheader next Saturday in San Francisco. Manager Dave Roberts wouldn’t commit on Sunday to Buehler making another start, only saying Buehler was an option for one of the doubleheader games.

Where it gets interesting, at least from a roster shenanigans standpoint, is that the Dodgers could in theory option Buehler back to the minors after Monday’s start, at least on paper, and utilize an extra player for a few games, depending on when Hill is activated (that seems likely for Friday, with Kenta Maeda and Clayton Kershaw starting Tuesday and Wednesday respectively against the Marlins). Under normal circumstances Buehler would not be able be recalled for 10 days unless replacing an injured player, but the 26th-man rule for doubleheaders allows for such a player to be called up, provided that he be optioned back to the minors after the one temporary day back up.

But that is next weekend. For now, the club’s top prospect gets to make his first major league start, and it’s hard to ask for a smoother landing spot for such a debut than facing the Marlins followed potentially by a game against the Giants, two of the five lowest-scoring offenses in baseball.