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Dodgers notes: Walker Buehler’s Tommy John rehab, Mookie Betts’ MVP consideration

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Dodgers Game Photo by Jerritt Clark/GC Images

Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler is three months into his rehab from Tommy John surgery, and sat down with Russell Dorsey of Bally Sports and Momentum.

In the interview, Buehler compared the rehabilitation from this surgery with his first such procedure in 2015. He was asked if he’d need to become a different pitcher to avoid future injuries.

“There are different ways to frame it. Something obviously wasn’t right, something keeps breaking in my elbow. You can find different ways to try and improve, and try and throw more safely,” Buehler said. “But at the end of the day, I just know how to be the guy that I have been, and still want to be able to pitch the way I know how to do. It will probably be a little bit of both. We’ll probably deep dive into mechanics, and get my body in a better spot.”

Buehler also mentioned his charitable organization he runs with his wife McKenzie, the Buehler Family Foundation, which is hosting its third annual charity golf outing, including an auction to raise money for PanCAN, fighting pancreatic cancer.

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Mookie Betts finished fifth in National League MVP voting, which was announced Thursday. Leo Morgenstern over at FanGraphs analyzed the deep field of NL MVP contenders, and tried to make his own choice. He picked Betts: “There were a number of all-around talents in the NL this season, but I realized that one player, and only one, was genuinely good in every single aspect of the game. Hitting, fielding, baserunning. Power, arm strength, and stolen bases. Plate discipline, range, and avoiding double plays.”

ZiPS projections for 2023 are coming soon at FanGraphs, and Dan Szymborski in outlining the system used Justin Turner and his comparable players to explain the process.

Shortstop Leonel Valera, who also played third base and second base during his six seasons in the Dodgers minors, signed a minor league contract with the Nationals on Friday that included a non-roster invitation to big league camp in spring training. Valera, 23, hit .265/.340/.442 with 18 home runs between High-A Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa in 2022. He reached minor league free agency earlier in November.